What went wrong for Marcus Rashford to lead to England Euro squad omission?

Rashford scored 30 goals and helped Manchester United return to the Champions League in 2022-23 but has not been able to recapture that form.

Pa Sport Staff
Tuesday 21 May 2024 16:18 BST
Marcus Rashford has not made the cut for Euro 2024 (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Marcus Rashford has not made the cut for Euro 2024 (Zac Goodwin/PA) (PA Archive)

Marcus Rashford has been left out of England’s provisional squad for Euro 2024 following a turbulent season at Manchester United.

Here, the PA news agency looks at what has gone wrong for the forward in recent months.

Stuttering start

Rewind to last summer and everything was rosier for Rashford, who was enjoying a renaissance under Erik ten Hag. He was coming off the back of a 30-goal season which propelled United back into the Champions League and rewarded with a new big-money contract. But the goals dried up at the beginning of this campaign and he found himself frequently shunted out to the wing to accommodate summer signing Rasmus Hojlund through the centre. Rashford’s misfortunes were a symptom of United’s malaise as they lost eight of their first 15 matches for the first time in more than 60 years to pile the pressure on Ten Hag.

Continued struggles

Rashford found the back of the net just once – in a losing cause – in his first 16 matches for United. In this period, he was given a public rebuke from Ten Hag, who labelled a pre-planned birthday celebration hours after an abject 3-0 defeat by crosstown rivals Manchester City as “unacceptable”. Just a few days later, Rashford was given his second red card in 374 appearances for United in a 4-3 Champions League loss at Copenhagen. In the same month, he scored from the spot in a 3-0 win at Everton.

Frozen out and disciplined

Rashford spent much of December warming the bench as his poor returns led to him losing his starting spot. Either side of the new year was a brief upturn in fortunes on the field with three goals in four appearances but he was back in the spotlight after reportedly spending a night in a Belfast nightclub, which led to an internal disciplinary. He was left out of United’s win against Newport a couple of days later and was linked with a January switch to Paris St Germain which ultimately never materialised.

Rashford hits back but then blows cold again

Amid criticism from the likes of former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, Rashford asked to be shown a “bit more humanity” in an article for the Players’ Tribune as he rejected claims of a lack of commitment to United. He subsequently went on a three-game scoring run, including an extra-time strike in United’s 4-3 FA Cup win over Liverpool in mid-March but it proved a false dawn. After being booed by some fans in the semi-final against Coventry, he did not make another start and his disappointing season yielded just eight goals and five assists in a total of 42 appearances in all competitions.

Overlooked by Southgate

Following England’s defeat by France in the 2022 World Cup quarter-final, England boss Gareth Southgate faced scrutiny about his decision to not introduce Rashford until the final five minutes, when his side were already trailing. Southgate has stood by the misfiring Rashford in recent squads but he was a peripheral figure in the most recent international break in March and the form of Phil Foden and emergence of Anthony Gordon has left the 26-year-old United frontman out in the cold.

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