Neil Humphreys: Why England really need Rashford
Manchester United's rising star can be most explosive threat since Rooney
Only Wayne Rooney, Michael Owen and Paul Gascoigne have truly captured that glorious, anything-could-happen, sense of anticipation in an England jersey.
The mind invariably returns to Rooney at Euro 2004, Owen and the Argentinians in 1998 and Gazza managing to out-Dutch the Dutch with his Cruyff turns in 1990.
Three young Lions conjured that rarest of phenomena in England games.
Every touch was a tale of the unexpected. No one knew what was coming next. They always looked like scoring.
And Marcus Rashford could be the next one.
Against Liverpool a fortnight ago, he terrorised the Reds whenever in possession. He cut inside from the left and wreaked havoc.
He didn't just move. He danced. More importantly, he delivered.
As England prepare for upcoming friendlies against Holland and Italy, coach Gareth Southgate intuitively understands Rashford's greatest asset in a way that Jose Mourinho perhaps doesn't.
Rashford terrifies opponents. His unique physical and mental attributes set him apart from most of his countrymen.
He brings uncertainty. He breeds fear.
With Harry Kane injured, the 20-year-old striker should seize the opportunity against Holland because his audacious style makes him a refreshing throwback to Rooney, Owen and Gazza.
The four players are united by a common, youthful arrogance. They believed in their ability to beat the next man, every man, every time.
Southgate worked with Rashford at under-21 level and recognised early on that a training- ground session or a full house at Old Trafford made no difference to the teenager.
Rashford still applies the same, unabashed tactics of the school playground: take the ball, put your head down and charge.
Like Rooney and Gazza in particular, Rashford arrived on the scene fully formed.
The dribbling cockiness of a kid, the wiry pace of a pubescent speedster and the muscular bulk of a middleweight contender came together in the perfect package for any manager.
At United, Mourinho has something in common with back-pedalling defenders. He's never quite sure what Rashford might do next.
The forward's unpredictability, the very essence of his prodigious talent, worries a fastidious coach who has never found an artist he couldn't shove in a padlocked box.
Mourinho won't let his energetic striker off the leash, not entirely, but Southgate might.
The England manager was on the bench when Owen tore through Argentina's defence in 1998. Southgate later came on in that memorable round-of-16 clash.
England lost on penalties, but Southgate understands what Rashford potentially offers at the World Cup.
The ongoing debate over Rashford's best position may continue, but debate over his potential should not.
He scored on debut in Europe, in the English Premier League and for England.
He's never overawed by his environment.
Despite injury and the eternal problem of being shunted around in a Mourinho line-up, Rashford has still scored 12 goals in a cautious United side this season and finds himself in form as the World Cup approaches.
For United, he's featured on the left, on the right and very occasionally through the middle, where Rashford prefers to play.
Against Liverpool, he was at his most devastating on the left, dribbling inside to support a conventional target man, which suggests he could deliver for England, with or without Kane.
But Southgate isn't likely to repeat unwanted history.
In a limited, rather uninspiring squad, he has one explosive, irrepressible footballer capable of unsettling any defence.
And Rashford can prove Mourinho wrong.
At elite level, a manager should always accommodate a young, unpredictable maverick.