Euro 2016: Marcus Rashford is living a dream with England

Marcus Rashford in England training ahead of Euro 2016. PA Sport
Marcus Rashford in England training ahead of Euro 2016. PA Sport
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Marcus Rashford has been as amazed as anyone by his whirlwind rise, with the England teenager confessing it "doesn't feel real".

There are few fairytale ascents that compare to the speed and style in which the 18-year-old has seamlessly transformed into one of the country's most feted players.

Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney leave the England team hotel. PA Sport

Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney leave the England team hotel. PA Sport

Thrust into the Manchester United team in late February after a warm-up injury to Anthony Martial, Rashford flourished rather than wilted under the Old Trafford spotlight by netting eight goals in 18 appearances and winning the FA Cup.

Rashford's form earned a maiden England call-up and it took just 138 seconds against Australia to become the country's youngest goalscoring debutant.

That rubber-stamped the striker's place in Roy Hodgson's 23-man squad heading to Euro 2016, putting him in line to feature against Russia this weekend - just 107 days after his club breakthrough.

Asked if he could ever imagine being in this position, Rashford shook his head and said with a smile: "No.

"Back then I was actually trying to work my way into the 21s side and all of a sudden I appeared in the first team - you have to be ready when your chance comes.

"To be honest, I wasn't really thinking about the England set-up as much because obviously at United there was a lot of games coming thick and fast.

"All of my focus was on those games. At the end of the season you hear talk and stuff, but to be here now is just amazing."

Rashford sat down for his first in-depth interview alongside United and England captain Wayne Rooney - a player he has long looked up to and a situation he still finds hard to fathom.

"When I first went into the changing room and saw all of the players' names on the back of their shirts, it doesn't seem real," he told FATV.

"I remember going home after and speaking to my brother about it, and he agreed with me - he didn't think it was real either.

"That's what it's like until you get used to it, that's what it is going to be like."

Rashford is, though, now considered just as good as any of those household names and is one of the 23 men charged with bringing success to England over the next month.

It is, he says, an "amazing feeling" to have the chance to help the country at Euro 2016, but, just like his debut, will not be over analysing things.

"To be fair, I tried not to think about it too much because that's probably where the pressure and stuff starts to get to people's heads and affect their performance," he said about his England debut at the Stadium of Light.

"For me, I was just concentrating on playing how I'd been playing and all of a sudden the goal came. It's a good way to start."

Rooney knows better than most about the pressure that comes with bursting through as a teenager and has been taken aback by Rashford's progress since netting a brace on his United debut in the Europa League against FC Midtjylland.

"Yeah, he's been great," England's all-time top scorer said. "At the time he came into the team at United, we were going through a bit of a bad period and to come into the team and take to it like he did was incredible really.

"The manager kept faith in him so he kept his place in the team and showed what he could do.

"Roy put him in the 26 and it was really down to Marcus then to show that he was capable of being in the 23, and he certainly did that after a couple of minutes, getting his first goal for England."

Rooney hopes Rashford can continue to play without freedom and fear, but will not be filling his teenage team-mate with advice.

"I always think that, for young lads, it's probably better to leave them and not fill them with advice - 'you should do this, you should do that'," he said.

"Just let them go and play because that's what's got them to the position they're in today."