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Marcus Rashford aware of importance of Scotland clash

Marcus Rashford aware of importance of Scotland clash
© Reuters
The Manchester United forward has played in some big games for his club.

Marcus Rashford has likened England’s upcoming Euro 2020 clash with Scotland to playing for Manchester United against fierce rivals Liverpool.

The Three Lions host their oldest opposition at Wembley on Friday night having opened their Group D account with victory over Croatia.

While there are 40 places between England and Scotland in the FIFA world rankings, the derby-like feel is likely to somewhat even the odds.

Rashford, who came off the bench during Sunday’s victory, knows how much the fixture means and compared it to some of the biggest club rivalries he has played in.

Rashford compared England v Scotland games to those he plays for Manchester United against Liverpool.
Marcus Rashford compared England versus Scotland games to those he plays for Manchester United against Liverpool and Manchester City (Dave Thompson/PA)

“I think in football everyone wants to be beat everyone,” he said.

“But in some games… its how the game is actually being played and the atmosphere and crowd and how much you want to win – it all comes together.

“There is something unique about that game. It’s similar to the games against Man City and Liverpool – those type of games you have a different feeling.

“You can’t put a finger on it – because you approach every game the same. But the build up, its just unique and I’m really looking forward to it.

“As players you want to play in the biggest, most historical games. Through our careers this is going to be up there with one of the biggest games that we play, one of the games we remember
for the rest of our careers.

“For me, I look back at the last time I played against them – the atmosphere, the build up, it was unique. To do it in the Euros is a moment we are looking forward to.”

While there will be rivalry on the pitch from the first whistle, the two nations will come together ahead of kick-off.

Marcus Rashford and his England team-mates have been taking the knee in a stance against racism.
Rashford and his England team-mates have been taking the knee in a stance against racism (Nick Potts/PA)

Scotland announced last week they would take a knee in solidarity with the England players in a pre-match gesture against racism.

Having initially said they would not take part, Rashford is pleased that Scotland are now on board as it remains to be seen if the stance will again be jeered by a minority of supporters.

Asked if Scotland taking the knee is a symbol of unity, Rashford replied: “Yes, I think it’s an important message.

Scotland's players have been standing against racism before kick-off.
Scotland’s players have been standing against racism before kick-off (Andrew Milligan/PA)

“We spoke about it in camp and we recognise it is a very important message. If you want to spread important messages then there is no better place to do it than on the biggest stage.

“That is why we continued to take the knee. So them taking the knee is going to be a good thing and if there is more of us spreading the correct message hopefully it has a big influence on people around the world.”

Rashford has not only been taking a knee against racism but also fought the Government in the past year to ensure free school meals for children during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He received an MBE last year for his actions and recently spoke to former United States President Barack Obama.

Rashford and Barack Obama recently spoke about supporting young people.
Rashford and Barack Obama recently spoke about supporting young people (Penguin Random House)

Obama said Rashford was “way ahead” of where he was as a 23-year-old – but the Manchester United forward ruled out following in his political footsteps.

“Yes, I probably can because it’s not something I grew up wanting to do,” he said when asked if he could rule out ever becoming Prime Minister.

“My mind’s not on that really but it was great speaking to him (Obama) and I’ve enjoyed speaking to people like that, learning from them and taking what I can from the stories that they tell me. It’s something I will always remember.”

With Rashford pushing to start the game against Scotland, he revealed he has been playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks.

Marcus Rashford sits on the grass injured
Rashford has been playing through the pain barrier (Laurence Griffiths/PA)

“With regards to me, I understand my body well,” he said of ongoing fitness issues.

“It has been a while for me playing without the things that hold you back in some way. But it is the last push for this season and then we get some time off, so I am just concentrating on giving everything I can while I am here for the team.”

Victory on Friday would keep England on track to finish top of the group, although it is likely their Wembley round-of-16 clash would then see them play one of France, Germany or Portugal.

Rashford, however, insists Gareth Southgate’s side would not be intimidated by any other nation in the tournament.

He said: “One thing I’d say is we are not scared of any team we come up against.

“We’re working hard and in football that’s just the baseline you have to work hard and believe in yourself and your team-mates.

“If you don’t do that you may as well forget about winning. We’re not scared of any other teams. Are there teams that have played well and impressed us? Yeah definitely. I think there have been some strong performances, some performances that make you sit back and enjoy the game of football.

“Going forward, if we are going to win the tournament we are going to have to play against the best teams in the tournament. We want to look forward to those games. We don’t want to be scared of playing against these teams.”

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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina22131247
United StatesUnited States19201352
JapanJapan175830
AustraliaAustralia1331430
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia11151137
Great BritainGreat Britain9101231
Today's Olympic highlights header

Sunday's key events


GOLF
· The men's golf reaches its conclusion, with plenty of players still in medal contention. Home favourite Hideki Matsuyama is one shot off Xander Schauffele's lead, while Great Britain's Paul Casey is another shot further back and Tommy Fleetwood is also in the mix (11.30pm-8am)

CYCLING - BMX
· Great Britain have already made history in the BMX events in Tokyo, something Charlotte Worthington and Declan Brooks will be looking to add to in the women's (2.10am) and men's (3.10am) freestyle finals

SWIMMING
· The final day of swimming action begins with the men's 50m freestyle final. Ben Proud could add to a medal-laden Games in the pool for Team GB so far, although he is up against USA's Caeleb Dressel, who is going for his fourth gold in Tokyo (2.30am)
· From sprint to endurance, Great Britain's second medal hope of the day comes through Daniel Jervis in the men's 1500m freestyle final (2.44am)
· Team GB will again be among the heavy favourites for gold in the last swimming event of the Games - the men's 4x100m medley relay final - having won the mixed event in a world record time on Saturday (3.36am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Pat McCormack takes part in the men's welterweight semi-final against Ireland's Aidan Walsh with a spot in the gold medal final at stake (4.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also in the semi-finals of the men's light heavyweight and will be looking to continue Team GB's success in the ring (4.51am)

TENNIS
· There will be a surprise on the top of the men's tennis podium after Novak Djokovic missed out on a medal altogether. Alexander Zverev takes on Karen Khachanov in the second match on Centre Court at the Ariake Tennis Park (7am-2pm)

SAILING
· Alison Young will be going for gold in the women's laser radial medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Max Whitlock will look to defend his 2016 Olympic title in the men's pommel horse final (10.41am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's high jump final includes GB's Tom Gale, although his chances of a medal look bleak (11.10am)
· So often the blue-riband event of the Olympics, the men's 100m final takes place as the world's fastest bid to be crowned Usain Bolt's successor. Three Brits have made it into the semi-finals (11.15am-11.32am), and the final looks wide open after an underwhelming display by favourite Trayvon Bromell on Saturday (1.50pm)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain face India in the men's quarter-final (1pm)

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