Rashford reveals inspiring Rooney speech after England's shock Iceland defeat
Wayne Rooney might be out of the England squad but Marcus Rashford has explained how important the captain's influence can be.
Marcus Rashford has revealed how England captain Wayne Rooney inspired the team to look to the future following their shock Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland.
England crashed out at the last-16 stage in France last year after goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson overturned Rooney's early penalty.
The defeat saw Roy Hodgson leave his post as head coach and cast some doubt over the future of the skipper, who has since struggled for regular playing time with Manchester United and has been left out of Gareth Southgate's latest squad as he continues to nurse a knee injury.
Southgate has offered England's record goalscorer no guarantees that he has a future with the national team, but Rashford - who has admitted to idolising Rooney as a youngster - has offered a glimpse of the influence his United team-mate still has.
"I know the comparisons that have been made between the two of us," Rashford, who has earned a recall for this week's friendly with Germany and World Cup qualifier with Lithuania, told The Players' Tribune.
"I know the expectations that people have of me. For me, I'm just focused on improving my game however I can. And being around Wayne and training with him has been massive for that.
"He speaks to me a lot about the game - the positions he's been in, the situations he's had to deal with.
"I first met Wayne after my debut for United [against Midtjylland in February 2016, in which Rashford scored twice]. He was injured at the time, but he came into the changing room after the game, walked straight up to me and said congratulations. It may seem like a small thing, but it wasn't. It meant a lot to me.
"When we were knocked out by Iceland at the Euros, it was a massive disappointment. We were all sitting around in the dressing room after the match, not sure what to think. But then Wayne gets up. And he says one thing. 'Keep your head up. We've got a lot to fight for in the future'.
"But he says it to each individual person. One by one, he goes up to us and looks us in the eye. 'Keep your head up. Look forward'.
"So that's where we are now. Our heads are up and we're fighting for the future. I know I'm young - the whole squad is quite young - but we want to make history in the time we've got. We know that when people look back on our team, it's the trophies that they are going to judge us on."