Marcus Rashford can become one of the world's best players after carrying his Manchester United form onto the international stage at the World Cup, according to Harry Maguire.

Rashford lost his place in Gareth Southgate's England squad earlier this year after enduring a miserable 2021-22 campaign, making just 13 Premier League starts for United and scoring four goals.

However, Rashford has been rejuvenated since Erik ten Hag took charge at Old Trafford, finding the net eight times in all competitions this term to force his way into the Three Lions' squad.

Rashford scored twice on his first start at the World Cup as England thrashed Wales last time out, moving level with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Alvaro Morata at the top of the tournament's goalscoring charts, and Maguire believes he has the talent to reach the very top of the game.

Asked about his England and United team-mate by talkSPORT, Maguire said: "I'm really pleased for Marcus.

"I don't think he'll ever reach what his talent can get to, because he's so talented that he could be one of the best in the world, and I think he's got to push and strive for that. 

"Over the last year or so it's just not been Marcus at Manchester United. We had a difficult year as a group and it affects people as individuals. 

"This year, he is playing with a lot more freedom and he's playing with a big smile on his face. We speak about him getting back to his best and I'm sure he will do."

Should Rashford score in England's last-16 tie against Senegal on Sunday, he will become the first United player to score four goals at a single major tournament for the Three Lions.

If he starts, the Red Devils attacker will fancy his chances of doing so against a Senegal side that has gone 10 World Cup games without a clean sheet, last recording a shutout at the tournament on their 2002 debut in a famous 1-0 win over France.

John Stones says he has never seen a young player as talented as Phil Foden, as Gareth Southgate weighs up whether to stick with the Manchester City man for England's World Cup last-16 clash with Senegal.

Foden was left out of England's line-up for their first two games in Qatar – a 6-2 thrashing of Iran and a goalless draw with the United States – but he got on the scoresheet after starting Tuesday's 3-0 win over Wales. 

He led his team-mates for expected goals (1.04 xG), shots in the Wales area (four) and crosses (five) last time out, and Foden's City colleague expects him to continue impressing.

"I've never seen anyone at that age like Phil, with his ability, his football knowledge, and his freedom in how he plays and how he expresses himself," Stones said on Friday.

"The ability he's got is frightening. I'm a huge fan of Phil, I'm lucky to get to play with him pretty much every day.

"I look forward to seeing what he can do and I love playing with him. I'm extremely lucky, City are extremely lucky, England as well, that we've got somebody like that. 

"I want to help him through whatever it might be, and make sure he gets what he needs on and off the pitch that allows him to go and play as he played the other night."

Foden faces stern competition for a place in England's frontline, with each of Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka having scored in Qatar, and Stones does not envy Southgate's dilemma. 

"It's the hardest part of being a manager, choosing that starting eleven and knowing there's eleven happy players and the rest aren't," Stones added.

"We've got an incredible group here, and the boys who don't make the pitch or come on are very selfless and they put their own feelings aside for the group. 

"That's part of our success. I don't envy managers in general when they've got to make those decisions."

While England's tally of nine goals at this World Cup is the most they have scored in the group stages at a major tournament, back-to-back clean sheets also aided their bid to top Group B.

Stones' central defensive partner Harry Maguire has been heavily criticised after slipping down the pecking order at Manchester United, and the City man believes his response has been exemplary.

"Right from the first game, he's given the best response with what he's been doing. In all three games, he's been terrific," Stones said of Maguire. 

"Knowing what he's been going through and knowing the person he is, it speaks volumes about him to come through that and still believe in himself, like I believed in him and all his team-mates did.

"I think there was a lot of noise from outside which he's not listened to, and he's tried to improve and better himself, and he's come into this tournament and hit the ground running. That's great credit to him."

Harry Maguire has kept his focus on England at the World Cup while Manchester United have been making headlines back home.

Despite early upsets and drama at Qatar 2022, United have dominated the news agenda, first with the release of Cristiano Ronaldo and then with the announcement of the Glazer family exploring the possibility of selling the club.

Even by United's standards, it has been a manic week.

But Maguire, who is set to earn his 50th England cap against the United States on Friday, has not allowed himself to worry about developments at Old Trafford.

"To be honest, I think it's been really easy," Maguire said. "I'm here with England, I'm playing at a World Cup, the greatest tournament in the world, so for me to keep the distractions away has been easy.

"I'm fully focused on winning each game I play for my country. There's been a lot of talk going off around the club at the moment, but I'm fully focused on England."

Gareth Southgate was also asked how he could shield his players from such distractions, with Maguire one of three United players in his squad.

"We've talked from time to time about the importance of ignoring those things from outside," Southgate said.

"We actually had the future King [Prince William] come in and talk to us about that. I thought that was a point we couldn't have paid him better to say.

"We've got to just ignore the noise. At tournaments, I think there's always a frenzy of the need for information, the need for stories.

"I've lived through a lot of tournaments now, so I understand the need to stay calm through all of that, focus on the games, focus on the training, on the things you can affect. Keeping your energy for those things is key."

Ronaldo is now a former team-mate for United captain Maguire, having caused the Red Devils no shortage of headaches since revealing his desire to leave at the start of the season.

But Maguire did note the constant criticism one of the game's all-time greats faced during their time together, helping him deal with scrutiny of his own career.

"As a footballer, nobody likes being criticised, but I think it's part and parcel of the game," Maguire added.

"I've played with Cristiano Ronaldo for the last couple of years, and he's one of the greatest players to ever kick a football, and he gets criticised day in and day out. So, if it's going to happen to him...

"In the position I'm in at Manchester United, I think it's part and parcel of the game – especially the position I'm in playing for Manchester United as captain of Manchester United."

Jordan Pickford believes his England team-mate Harry Maguire deserves more respect.

Maguire has become a figure of some ridicule after a downturn in form for Manchester United in the last year, with some questioning whether he should be in England's team at the World Cup in Qatar.

However, the 29-year-old centre-back was a key figure as the Three Lions won their opening Group B match 6-2 against Iran on Monday.

"I think [Maguire] needs to be respected a lot more, but part of the life of a footballer you are going to get criticised, everyone gets criticised in football," England goalkeeper Pickford told reporters.

"But Harry is mentally strong, takes it really well but yeah I think it’s a bit unfair, but his performances on the pitch show how good of a player he is and why he has so many caps for England and why he is captain of Manchester United."

Maguire assisted Bukayo Saka's first goal against Iran, won all four of his aerial duels, and felt he should have had a penalty when he appeared to be dragged down in the box with the game still at 0-0.

"He did unbelievable [against Iran], [he was] really good the other night," Pickford added. "For the first goal, the pass, then the assist for [Saka] and then maybe he could have got a penalty for us early on with the VAR decision that went against us.

"We have a great relationship, I think the majority of my caps now have been with Harry playing in front of me. We work really well together, and I think that our defensive record with Harry playing there is really good as well, and he is in a very good moment."

In a World Cup that has thrown up some surprising results in the opening days, England will have been pleased to get through their opener with a comfortable win, but Pickford insists they cannot look too far ahead of the next game, which comes against the United States on Friday.

"The situation is that we are here now, and the challenge is to go and win the World Cup," he said. "But there are a lot of challenges to get there and a lot of ups and downs really in each football match to get there, but our main aim is to win the World Cup, I think that is why everyone is here, to win the World Cup.

"We do have little conversations about it because it's what we want and it's our end goal, but we have to get to our end goal first."

Gareth Southgate revealed Harry Maguire was substituted in England's 6-2 win over Iran due to illness rather than injury.

Maguire's inclusion in Southgate's World Cup squad has been fiercely debated after he fell down the pecking order at Manchester United, but he produced a solid performance as England began their Group B campaign in scintillating fashion on Monday.

The defender's aerial presence troubled Iran throughout, and he claimed an assist by nodding down a corner for Bukayo Saka to put England 2-0 up with a brilliant volley in the first half.

Maguire was then replaced by Eric Dier after appearing to go through concussion checks after the break, but Southgate moved to ease any fears regarding his condition after the win.

"Harry Maguire felt ill. [He] flagged it before the [first Iran] goal," Southgate said. "There was no point carrying on, but other than that, no causes for concern."

Writing on Twitter, Maguire said: "I felt unwell in the second half so came off as a precaution. Looking forward to Friday."

Meanwhile, a total of 24 minutes of stoppage time were indicated throughout the game after Iran goalkeeper Alireza Beyranvand suffered a nasty head injury in an early collision with team-mate Majid Hosseini.

While Beyranvand was eventually replaced by Hossein Hosseini, Iran attracted criticism for their initial decision to allow the visibly dazed goalkeeper to continue following the incident.

However, head coach Carlos Queiroz looked to absolve his medical staff of any wrongdoing after the match, saying a broken nose was originally thought to be the extent of Beyranvand's injury.

"We thought he could keep going," Queiroz said. "It was not clear but, one minute after, the player was not able to keep going. 

"He suffered a serious concussion and is on the way to the hospital to have final examinations. 

"That's why the delay happened, because there was doubt between the broken nose and the concussion."

Bukayo Saka scored twice as England made a flying start to their World Cup campaign by thrashing Iran 6-2 at the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday.

Saka – whose penalty miss proved decisive in the Euro 2020 final last year – netted a stunning volley to help Gareth Southgate's side take a 3-0 lead into half-time, before he doubled up after the break.

With Iran crumbling after goalkeeper Alireza Beyranvand suffered a nasty head injury early on, Jude Bellingham set the tone by scoring his first international goal, while Raheem Sterling prodded home England's third.

Mehdi Taremi denied England a clean sheet with a powerful finish, but substitutes Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish responded as the Three Lions sent out a message to their Group B rivals despite Taremi scoring a very late second from the penalty spot.

Harry Maguire was a nuisance in the opposition box and saw an early penalty appeal waved away before powering a header against the crossbar in the 32nd minute.

Three minutes later, Bellingham diverted Luke Shaw's hanging cross into the top-right corner with a fine looping header.

With Iran struggling to contain the Three Lions, Maguire nodded a corner into the path of Saka to unleash a fierce volley into the top-right corner and double England's lead.

Southgate's rampant side then made it 3-0 in first-half stoppage time when Sterling cutely diverted home Harry Kane's right-wing cross.

There was no sign of England slowing down after the break, as Saka clinched his brace by cutting inside to drill a low finish beyond Iran substitute Hossein Hosseini.

Taremi denied England a clean sheet by firing in off the crossbar, but substitutes Rashford and Grealish produced composed finishes as the Three Lions extended their lead to 6-1.

There was one last piece of action when Taremi converted from the spot at the end of stoppage time after a VAR check contentiously ruled he was fouled by John Stones.

Manchester City centre-back John Stones believes form and club minutes are irrelevant when it comes to the World Cup, and is backing Manchester United captain Harry Maguire to deliver on the big stage for England.

Stones and Maguire are experienced in leading their country deep into big tournaments, starting alongside each other in both the 2018 World Cup semi-final and the Euro 2020 final.

While Stones, 28, remains in terrific standing back at City, starting almost every game he is healthy for, it has been a different story for 29-year-old Maguire this campaign with United.

After starting the first two games of the Premier League season, a benching followed by a hamstring injury has seen him make only one start since, with Lisandro Martinez and Raphael Varane overtaking the club captain.

Despite Maguire's lack of a perfect preparation, Stones said he knows he can still perform at a high level if that is how manager Gareth Southgate chooses to line up.

"Whatever team or whatever system Gareth decides, if it's me and Harry we will use those bonds again," he said.

"They are too strong to be broken by game time, form, whatever it is. That kind of goes out the window when these moments hit.

"When I look at Harry, I see a partner. Through all our experiences he's had my back and I've had his.

"We've had so many games together, we've made a bond and a partnership together. We know what the other person is going to do and how we work best together. It clicks."

England kick off their campaign on November 21 against Iran, before closing out the group stage with fixtures against the United States and Wales.

Barcelona forward Memphis Depay reportedly is looking to leave the club on a free transfer in January, and a trio of high-profile Premier League teams are mentioned as potential suitors.

Depay, 28, played 38 games for the Catalan giants in the 2021-22 campaign, but he has found himself on the outside looking in this season, appearing in only three contests.

With his contract set to expire at the end of the season, and Barcelona looking to shed his salary to increase their financial flexibility, the Netherlands international is hopeful his exit can be arranged mid-season.
 

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According to Mundo Deportivo, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham are paying close attention to Depay's situation with Barcelona.

If he is allowed to leave on a free transfer, United are said to have strong interest in bringing him back to Old Trafford, where he spent two seasons from 2015 to 2017 before being sold to Lyon.

The report also mentions Chelsea and Tottenham, who had interest in the previous transfer window before deciding against a move.

Depay has not played since a September 22 Nations League match for the Netherlands against Poland, but if he puts on a show at the World Cup, interest could skyrocket.


ROUND-UP

– According to The Guardian, Erik ten Hag plans on selling United captain Harry Maguire at the end of the season.

– 90min is reporting Arsenal are planning moves for Leicester City's Youri Tielemans and Palmeiras' 21-year-old Danilo in a bid to strengthen their midfield in January.

Newcastle United will rival Arsenal in the chase for 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk, who will reportedly cost in the range of £100million, per Football Insider.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Chelsea have hosted 16-year-old Palmeiras prodigy Endrick on an official club visit, introducing him to fellow Brazilian Thiago Silva.

Newcastle and Borussia Dortmund have shown interest in 20-year-old Leeds right-back Cody Drameh, per the Daily Mail.

England's all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney hopes Harry Kane smashes his record during the World Cup.

Kane heads to the tournament with 51 goals for the Three Lions, two behind Rooney's record hail, with the pair standing as the only England players to have hit the half-century mark.

Having scored six times in Russia four years ago to win the Golden Boot, Kane will be confident of surpassing Rooney's tally in Qatar.

While others may wish to hold onto such a record, Rooney is fully behind Kane taking a record that is "there to be broken".

"I'm delighted for him, I think he'll go on and smash the record, I think he'll end up on 70-odd goals," Ronney told TalkSPORT.

"He deserves it for the work he puts in. It's a huge honour to have the record but the record is there to be broken and I couldn't think of anyone better to take that record.

"Hopefully, he gets it during this World Cup because it will mean he's doing well for England."

Kane was one of the sure-fire picks for Gareth Southgate's 26-man squad, which was named on Thursday, though the England manager's selection of Harry Maguire has come under some criticism.

Rooney, who took up a coaching role with D.C. United in MLS earlier this year, believes Southgate has made the right choice in picking the Manchester United centre-back, though he questioned the exclusion of Milan's Fikayo Tomori.

"Harry has been great in the last two tournaments. When I was in the squad, Gareth reiterated to me that he is picking players on form and I wasn't playing, so I didn't get picked, but he seems to have gone away from that now," he added.

"There's a couple of players within the squad who haven't been playing but I think Harry is a very good professional, he'll start the games, I have no doubt, and I'm sure he won't let England down.

"The squad is probably as strong as it could be, if I'm being honest. The only one really is Tomori, from my point of view. He was the one who was pushing to be in the squad, and he will be disappointed that he is not. Everything else is really what I expected.

"With Maguire not playing as much as he wants, I think Southgate might go for the protection with three centre-backs and that is obviously why he's gone with Eric Dier ahead of Tomori, because he fits into the back three.

"I hope we go for four [at the back] and get an extra attacker on the pitch but I think he might go for the back three."

England kick-off their group stage campaign against Iran on November 21, then tackle the United States and Wales in Group B.

Marcus Rashford's 100th Manchester United goal gave the Red Devils a hard-fought 1-0 Premier League win over West Ham on Sunday.

United handed Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Maguire rare league starts, but Rashford snatched the headlines in bringing up his milestone with a fine 38th-minute header.

West Ham looked uninspired for long periods before finding David De Gea in strong form when they exerted some pressure late on, with the United goalkeeper making three crucial saves.

The victory lifts Erik ten Hag's team above Chelsea into fifth in the Premier League table, one point below fourth-placed Newcastle United with a game in hand.

Ronaldo sent a long-range effort into Lukasz Fabianski's arms as United dominated the early exchanges, before Rashford cut inside to send a deflected shot onto the roof of the net.

West Ham weathered that early storm and then escaped when Anthony Elanga badly miscued a volley from just six yards out after 36 minutes.

United led from their very next attack, however, with Rashford planting a brilliant header beyond Fabianski after meeting Christian Eriksen's hanging cross.

Ronaldo should have done better with a left-footed effort following Rashford's reverse pass as United continued to press after half-time, before David de Gea tipped Michail Antonio's fierce strike over the crossbar.

De Gea then made a brilliant reflex save from Kurt Zouma's header and denied Declan Rice from range after Maguire blocked from Jarrod Bowen, before which substitute Fred had nodded against the right-hand post at the other end – a near miss that did not prove costly.

Cristiano Ronaldo was given a start for Manchester United's meeting with West Ham, his first in the Premier League since being temporarily exiled from first-team activities.

Ronaldo was dropped for last week's dramatic 1-1 draw with Chelsea after refusing to come on as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Tottenham, and he was subsequently left out of first-team training.

However, Erik ten Hag recalled Ronaldo for Thursday's 3-0 Europa League win over Sheriff – a decision the 37-year-old validated by scoring his third goal of the season in all competitions – and the Dutchman kept faith with the striker.

Club captain Harry Maguire also earned a rare league start – his first since August – after Raphael Varane suffered a leg injury at Chelsea.

Fellow defender Victor Lindelof missed out through illness against David Moyes' team, as did Brazilian winger Antony.

Marcus Rashford, Luke Shaw and Anthony Elanga were brought into the starting line-up by Ten Hag, having all been benched last time out.

Erik ten Hag is backing Harry Maguire to play an important role for Manchester United after fellow defender Raphael Varane suffered an injury blow.

Maguire has only made two Premier League starts since Ten Hag took charge of United – both of which came in the humiliating back-to-back defeats to Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford in August. 

However, Maguire could be set for a recall after Varane was ruled out until the World Cup next month, having suffered a leg injury in Saturday's dramatic 1-1 draw at Chelsea. 

Speaking ahead of Thursday's Europa League meeting with Sheriff, Ten Hag said Maguire had the ideal qualities to help the Red Devils.

"He always has an important role to play. He was injured and is happy he is back, and now he has to get back into games," Ten Hag said.

"I understand the interest, but we look at United. We have to get the right results.

"It's always about performance, about presentation. Regarding his qualities, there's no problem. He is a great player and has great capabilities to do a job for us."

Varane's injury has put him at risk of missing France's World Cup defence, with Didier Deschamps' Bleus set to begin their Group D campaign against Australia on November 22.

However, Ten Hag does not believe it is club coaches' responsibility to rest players during a packed pre-tournament schedule, adding: "I think it is the wrong idea. 

"They only have [a few] weeks and then the World Cup starts. You have to keep the right fitness, the right shape. 

"It is not optimum, but that is something the national managers have to deal with."

Erik ten Hag says Marcus Rashford is still "on a really good run" despite consecutive blanks and backed the Manchester United forward to get back on the scoresheet against Newcastle United this weekend.

The forward has been in superb form since United kick-started their season under the Dutchman, and netted twice in last week's Europa League win over Omonia Nicosia.

But the attacker failed to find the back of the net in both of their subsequent games, coming away empty-handed against Everton in the Premier League and then again in the return European fixture against the Cypriot outfit.

Ten Hag, however, is unconcerned by the mini-drought and tipped Rashford, who is eyeing a recall to the England fold in time for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, to return to form.

"Sometimes, it is the game," he said. "It just isn't your night, but it can change in another game. He is on a really good run. Maybe he's saving it for the coming week.

"He knows that he has to be more clinical, that he has to score a goal. When you have such good movements, when you make such good combinations, you have to finish."

Ten Hag also touched on the injury situations of Anthony Martial and Harry Maguire, revealing the former could feature against the Magpies, while the latter will likely return to full team training next week.

The former, back in the United fold after a lacklustre loan spell with Sevilla last season, has impressed on his limited appearances this term, with three goals and two assists in four games, but Ten Hag still wants to see more.

"We have seen [his skill] from his dribble capabilities, his speed, his finishing," he added. "Now, he has to work on more variation. He is a player who can adapt quickly to a high level.

"He likes challenges. Every game is a challenge, and he'll make the best out of it. I think there is a lot of space for improvement, but he is already really good."

Manchester United defender Victor Lindelof believes increased competition for places is helping to improve the Red Devils' fortunes.

Lindelof missed United's poor start to the season with injury but has since fought his way back into the defence, starting the past two matches alongside Lisandro Martinez, who recently signed from Ajax.

Martinez was brought in to bolster a backline that includes the likes of Harry Maguire and Raphael Varane, both of whom have featured this season alongside the Argentina international, who is the only centre-back to have started every league game so far this campaign.

United have improved of late, winning seven of their past nine fixtures in all competitions, and Lindelof believes a battle for places partly explains their upturn in form.

"Obviously, I had a tough start to the season," Lindelof told reporters ahead of Thursday's Europa League tie with Omonia Nicosia. 

"But it's always very important for this team to have good players in the squad and competition for places.

"It's not a problem for me. I am always available if the manager needs me and if I have the opportunity, I will do my best.

"I always want to push myself and play games. I think everyone in the squad wants that."

Lindelof also credits new manager Erik ten Hag for the recent developments in his own game, adding: "The way he wants to play suits me.

"He's demanding a lot from us, how we control the game from the back and start the build-up.

"Hopefully I can keep improving a lot under him."

Erik ten Hag has warned it will take "months" to consistently produce the intensity Manchester United need to become a force again.

There was an air of optimism at Old Trafford following four consecutive Premier League wins, but that came to a juddering halt when the Red Devils suffered a chastening 6-3 derby defeat at Manchester City last Sunday.

The champions tore United apart, Erling Haaland and Phil Foden scoring hat-tricks in a rout at the Etihad Stadium.

Ten Hag's side came from behind to win 3-2 at Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday and return to top-flight action with a trip to Everton on Sunday.

Dutchman Ten Hag, who left Ajax to take the United hot seat at the end of last season, says it will take time for his side to reach the sort of levels he expects.

"It's more - it's physical, it's mental, it's also sustainability," he said.

"It's like a routine, a way of life and you have to bring it to every training in your system, as a squad and an individual player.

"When you have had a lack of it in the last years, it's not something that you build or progress in a week or a month.

"Now it's a system that has to be [in place]. It is a demand nowadays top football and it's quite clear City is the standard in that. There are more teams, but I think we can deliver that.

"We have seen it against Liverpool and we have seen it against Arsenal, but now we have to do it on a consistent basis, that is what we have to work for now.

"It will not come overnight, it will also take more than weeks - it will take months."

Ten Hag also expects United to be more disciplined and streetwise.

He added: "I know nasty, I know what it is. In that manner we can progress but sometimes also play a little bit smarter. 

"Like we have too many bookings and some players at the start of Premier League, they play tough.

"But I wonder [why] we collect so many bookings and I don't understand, like the first booking [for Diogo Dalot at City] on Sunday, I really don't understand. 

"We want to play tough, we want to keep the game going and then in the second minute already it's a booking for Diogo.

"Also, I saw many other bookings where I think, 'Is that necessary?' I have to keep the reminder to the players to play smart, but they have to play nasty as well."

Raphael Varane could return from an ankle injury at Goodison Park, but Harry Maguire remains sidelined along with Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Donny van de Beek.

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