Marcus Rashford doubtful as Jadon Sancho and Harry Maguire eye England’s call-ups

Manchester United duo Jadon Sancho and Harry Maguire are hoping for England call-ups this week as they ultimately seek a spot in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad – but team-mate Marcus Rashford is now injury-doubted.

England meet Italy and Germany later this month in the Nations League. The double-header is the last chance Southgate will have on the players before the World Cup season kicks off in Doha on November 21 against Iran.

Southgate, who is set to announce his squad on Thursday afternoon, has held on to United captain Maguire at the heart of the Red Devils’ defense in recent months despite his questionable form, but he has now lost his place under Erik ten Hag.

Maguire started in the first two games of the season, including a 4-0 defeat at Brentford, but has been warming up the bench in the Premier League since.

England manager Gareth Southgate will name his final squad before he has to decide who will make his World Cup selection.

England manager Gareth Southgate will name his final squad before he has to decide who will make his World Cup selection (Trenka Attila/PA)

A lack of other real contenders could mean Maguire retains his place and Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings hasn’t had the best start to the campaign either.

Conor Coady joined Everton on loan from Wolves to strengthen his own chances, with Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori also having options, while Ben White has played at right-back for Arsenal.

There is also intrigue surrounding United strikers Rashford and Sancho, the duo were left out of the Nations League squad in June.

Rashford’s impressive start to the season with three goals in six games would have seen him push for a recall as he wants to play for England for the first time since his missed penalty in the penalty shoot-out loss to Italy in the European Championship final last summer at Wembley.

However, any place in Southgate’s squad is now in jeopardy as the PA news agency believe an unspecified injury – which prevented Rashford from traveling to Moldova for United’s Europa League game against Sheriff – could prevent him from doing so .

Sancho, who has made just one appearance for England since his missed penalty in the final, has scored twice this season and has been a key part of United’s revival of late.

Jack Grealish has endured a slow start to the season at Manchester City.

Jack Grealish had a slow start to the season at Manchester City (Nick Potts/PA)

Depending on Rashford’s fitness, the pair could re-enter Southgate’s thinking, particularly as Jack Grealish has started just one Premier League game for Manchester City this season and will almost certainly miss Jesse Lingard despite playing regularly at Nottingham Forest.

Another United player could be in limbo as Luke Shaw also lost his place in Ten Hag’s side following defeats to Brighton and Brentford.

With Shaw unpopular at his club, Southgate could again use Newcastle’s Kieran Trippier at left-back but have more natural options there in the form of Ben Chilwell and Tyrick Mitchell or possibly a senior call-up for Ryan Sessegnon.

Luke Shaw is hoping to keep his place in Gareth Southgate's England squad.

Luke Shaw hopes to retain his place in Gareth Southgate’s England squad (Mike Egerton/PA)

Southgate has always championed the idea of ​​picking players based on their form, which means Brentford striker Ivan Toney has arguably never had a better chance of making his debut.

Captain Harry Kane will no doubt be involved as he continues to underpin England’s record goalscoring record, but Toney is the most form-performing back-up option for the Tottenham man, who has scored five goals in six Premier League games.

Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is out with a hamstring injury so with Aaron Ramsdale and Nick Pope likely to be there, Dean Henderson could get a recall as he impresses on loan at Nottingham Forest.

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