Another week, another problem for Erik ten Hag and Manchester United and this time it comes with a familiar name attached.
Marcus Rashford’s apparent disaffection with life at Old Trafford has come to the boil after he missed Sunday’s win at Newport following a trip to Belfast.
Rashford, we are told, was unwell over the weekend and therefore not fit enough to travel with Ten Hag and his team to South Wales.
However, after being seen socialising in Belfast on Wednesday night, it now appears that the 26-year-old was out in the Irish city on Thursday as well.
Reports have since claimed Rashford went on a 12-hour tequila bender in the city on the Thursday. A waitress told The Sun that the United star was out ‘drinking all day’ with his entourage and on arriving back at his hotel at 3am he was so drunk that he ‘passed out’ while fully dressed.
Marcus Rashford has been labelled as ‘out of control’ after missing Man United training
United boss Erik ten Hag has insisted he will ‘deal with’ Rashford’s issue internally
It’s All Kicking Off host Chris Sutton claimed the forward has ‘no respect’ for his manager
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He then flew back to Manchester from Belfast on a private jet, touching down at 8am before calling in sick for training.
United manager Ten Hag has not denied that Rashford was out both Wednesday and Thursday night, and has not taken the opportunity to refute suggestions he has been lied to by his star player.
Not surprisingly, the matter was a hot topic on today’s ‘It’s All Kicking Off’ podcast with Mail Sport star columnist and Premier League winner Chris Sutton quick to tear in to Rashford for his alleged lack of discipline.
‘Marcus Rashford is like a good few Manchester United players at this moment in time,’ said Sutton.
‘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.’
United sources told the media at the end of last week that Rashford had become unwell after his night in Belfast on Wednesday and missed training because of that.
It was subsequent to this that images of him out in Ireland on Thursday also emerged. So far this has not been denied by Rashford or indeed the club.
Rashford has been in the spotlight before for the wrong reasons since Ten Hag became manager at the start of the 2022-23 campaign.
Last season he was dropped for a game at Wolves after being late for a team meeting while last autumn he was spoken to by his manager after going out to celebrate his birthday after playing in a United side outplayed and outclassed by Manchester City in a 3-0 derby defeat.
Speaking on IAKO, Mail Sport Football Editor Ian Ladyman wondered whether this may now be a case of ‘three strikes and out’ for Rashford.
‘It’s unbelievable,’ replied Sutton.
The England international has already picked up a number of misdemeanors under ten Hag
Jadon Sancho, similarly, fell out with ten Hag after a number of disciplinary issues
‘He is 26 now, Marcus Rashford. He has such a lack of respect for the manager. He’s making his feelings quite clear, isn’t he?
‘I feel sorry for Ten Hag, but essentially we know which way this is going to go. Ten Hag will eventually end up leaving and Rashford will stay on and all the Manchester United fans further down the line will love Marcus again because he’s ‘Manchester United through and through’. But his actions have been utterly disgraceful.’
Ten Hag has drawn a firm line in the sand in the pursuit of discipline and squad harmony since being hired from Ajax. He was quick to move Cristiano Ronaldo on and this season stood firm over Jadon Sancho, who has been loaned to Borussia Dortmund after refusing to apologise for taking a swipe at his manager on social media.
‘I’ll say a couple things here,’ said Ladyman on IAKO.
‘I don’t know what Rashford’s view is on this is, whether he’s feeling unfairly maligned or put upon or unfairly criticised. I actually don’t know.
‘But what I do know is that at Manchester United, there is a view within the football club that Rashford is not having Ten Hag. That is what they feel inside that football club. That is what they feel. That has been communicated to me.
‘And if that’s the case, then it seems Ten Hag clearly is prepared to die on this hill of discipline. We’ve seen it with Sancho. Now we’ve seen it with Rashford. And if he does die on this hill, and if he does leave the football club then respect to him for that.
‘In terms of Rashford himself, my concern is that if he were to leave Manchester United – and he is contracted until 2028 – I think there’s a danger that he disappears.
Mail Sport’s Sutton suggested that Rashford will outlast the Manchester United boss
There are fears that Rashford could ‘disappear’ should he secure a move away from Man United
‘And what I mean by that – hypothetically – is that if he goes to Chelsea, goes to Tottenham, goes to a club abroad, he could disappear into that void in which quite a few former Manchester United players have fallen previously.
‘There is quite a history of players leaving Manchester United and not going on to do very well, and he could be another one.’
Ten Hag’s team actually played quite well in beating Newport 4-2 on Sunday in the fourth round of the FA Cup. After the game, however, captain Bruno Fernandes criticised some of his team-mates for being greedy.
‘Everyone wanted to score and get their goal and sometimes we don’t get the best decision for the team,’ said Fernandes.
This left Sutton perplexed who said: ‘That’s pretty remarkable. The captain of Manchester United coming out publicly and just telling everybody that it’s everyone for themselves. That’s something which he should be saying within the confines of the dressing room. He’s just letting everybody know that things aren’t right.’
Manchester United captain Bruno Fernandes criticised his team-mates for being greedy
United’s next engagement is at Wolves on Thursday night in the Premier League. Whether Rashford is considered for selection will be telling but Ladyman thinks new United investor Jim Ratcliffe and incoming chief executive Omar Berrada have a myriad of squad issues to address going forward.
‘They’re going to have an awful lot of players to replace before long,’ he said.
‘I know we don’t know what will happen with Rashford but Sancho isn’t coming back anytime soon. Mason Greenwood isn’t coming back. Jonny Evans is on a short contract. How long is Casemiro going to stick around? How long is Christian Eriksen going to stick around? What about Raphael Varane?
‘All those players – even if only half of them go – they’ve got to be replaced. They may not all be good enough or they may not be performing, but they are bodies in the squad. They are going to need to be replaced.’