Does Marcus Rashford’s future lie away from Manchester United?

Rashford failed to appear for training after clubbing in Belfast last week and was dropped from Erik ten Hag’s squad. So does he need a fresh start?

Lawrence Ostlere
Tuesday 30 January 2024 13:09 GMT
Marcus Rashford is the spotlight at Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA)
Marcus Rashford is the spotlight at Manchester United (Martin Rickett/PA) (PA Wire)

Marcus Rashford’sManchester United future is in doubt after his latest misdemeanour saw him disciplined internally by the club.

What did Rashford do wrong?

Rashford was out partying into the early hours at a Belfast nightclub last week, and failed to report for training the following morning. Erik ten Hag dropped the forward from his squad for Sunday’s FA Cup tie at Newport County, telling the BBC: “I will deal with it.”

Has this happened before?

Rashford was in trouble with his manager earlier this season, too. Rashford went to a nightclub party to celebrate his birthday, immediately after October’s embarrassing 3-0 home derby defeat to Manchester City. The timing was criticised, and it was something his manager Erik ten Hag went on to call “unacceptable”.

How has Rashford been performing on the pitch?

Rashford enjoyed his best season yet last term, finishing with a career-high 30 goals in all competitions including 17 in the Premier League, making him United’s top scorer.

But this year has been a very different story, with only four goals all campaign so far. After scoring against Tottenham earlier this month, Rashford celebrated by putting his cupping his ear as if to call out his doubters. That was his last game before the Belfast incident.

Rashford played impressively against Tottenham earlier this month
Rashford played impressively against Tottenham earlier this month (Reuters)

What has been the reaction?

BBC Radio’s Chris Sutton was highly critical of Rashford, saying: “He thinks he’s untouchable. This hasn’t been the first time where he’s had a misdemeanour. It’s been continuous. He has no respect for the manager and no respect for his teammates. That’s the bottom line.’He’s probably thinking he is going to outlast Ten Hag anyway but he’s out of control as far as I can see.”

Former United captain Gary Neville was more sympathetic, saying: “To me, going out for a drink or going out for a night out is something that every football player should do and will do, so I’ve got no problem with that whatsoever. They need to enjoy themselves. It’s just all about choices and timing.

“I think Manchester United have just had a winter break. They’ve had a couple of weeks off, so there was a better moment for him to choose to go out. So, I would say go out, have your moment where you relax with your friends, but just your timing’s got to be right.”

Could his future lie away from Old Trafford?

It is hard to imagine Rashford playing for anyone else. He is a boyhood United fan who memorably burst on to the scene as a 18-year-old, scoring twice on his debut. But his struggles on and off the pitch suggest all might not be well, and that a fresh challenge could be the answer.

That being said, Rashford signed a new deal until 2028 only last summer worth an eye-watering £325,000. Finding a club to match those wages would be tricky, even if Ten Hag and United decided Rashford was surplus to requirements – not to mention a transfer fee likely to be pushing close to £100m.

Where might he go?

If Rashford was to leave, it is hard to imagine him joining another Premier League club, both on the grounds of loyalty to United and the way the league’s profit and sustainability rules are now being rigorously implemented, making luxurious signings difficult to add up.

He has been previously linked with a number of European giants, most notably Paris Saint-Germain, who are likely to be in need for a left-sided forward next season as Kylian Mbappe nears his world-record switch to Real Madrid.

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