Paul Merson identified the exact moment Gareth Southgate turned on Marcus Rashford

Paul Merson believes that Marcus Rashford’s absence from a training session after his night out in Belfast caused England boss Gareth Southgate to lose faith in the Manchester United player.

It came as a major surprise when the 26-year-old was left off of the Three Lions’ preliminary 33-man roster for Euro 2024.

The United forward is not part of Southgate’s major tournament team for the first time. Even though Rashford hasn’t played well this season, his most noteworthy moment came in January when he was discovered out on the town in Belfast and failed to show up for a United training session.

Erik ten Hag, the manager of United, benched him from an FA Cup match against Newport County due to his wild partying. Merson feels that Southgate lost faith in him when he was left out of the Three Lions’ plans for Euro 2024.

Merson said: “I back a lot of players because you don’t know what is going on in their minds, you don’t know what is going on behind the scenes. But you can’t miss training. You can’t.

“I remember when I was 17 and I went out with my cousin’s boyfriend and I didn’t get up for work in the morning – and my dad told me off so badly. I was 17 or 18 and he said: ‘Do not ever miss training’.

“I never missed another day’s training in my life, even when I went out. I was getting back at 6am and I still went to training out of respect. Not just for me, who had lost all respect, but for my team-mates and my manager.

“I can’t back him on that when you hear he was put back to bed at 3am. The lad has got the biggest talent in the world. Last year, he was unplayable. This year, I think I could do as well as him this season.

“Football is a short career, and the way the game is changing now – he only has four or five years left before he’s 30 tops and you can party as much as you want. Don’t ruin it, don’t ruin it. I think he’s made a mistake – and I know he’s made a few – but he can play. With turning up late, Rashford has just got to get his head down.”

A report from the Sun claimed Rashford was seen drinking tequila shots and cocktails in a Belfast nightclub. A waitress also claimed she had to put Rashford in bed after his session ended.

“Gareth Southgate is a disciplinarian. I know him, he was my captain at Villa and he doesn’t like that – the not turning up. You’ve got England, who I think will win the Euros this summer, so you’ve got to be there. You can make history. Gareth knows the players, he ain’t one of those managers who talks to you only when you turn up to England training.”

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