England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted it is impossible to miss Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford because the 25-year-old has rarely been available for his country in recent months.
Rashford is among the most in-form players in Europe right now but was forced to pull out of the England squad through injury.
Fitness issues, coupled with previously justifiable decisions to omit Rashford from the squad due to poor form, means Rashford's appearance as a fringe player at the World Cup was his only period with the squad since Euro 2020.
Rarely has his absence been felt as strongly as now, however, with Rashford in prolific form for his club, although Southgate appeared a little frustrated as he highlighted the United forward's disappointing track record for his country.
"Well the feeling was he was playing really well, but we haven’t often had him," Southgate confessed. "So, in terms of a loss, when you haven’t had him that often then it’s different to being a loss.
"But without a doubt he was in good form. We were looking forward to seeing him."
Rashford scored three goals across his five appearances at the World Cup, having missed the previous 16 games for his country due to both injury issues and poor form at club level.
Southgate has been forced to rely on other players over the past three years but was prepared to give Rashford a significant role during the current break, only for a knock in the FA Cup quarter-final victory over Fulham to force him to pull out.
The United forward has since been spotted in New York alongside fiancee Lucia Loi, while England begin their Euro 2024 qualification campaign.