Former-Liverpool player Phil Thompson has questioned the effect that Alexis Sanchez’s arrival at Manchester United will have on young English players at the club.
Marcus Rashford has appeared in every game, either from the start or from the substitutes bench, for Man United this season, but Thompson fears the January signing of Sanchez will damage that record.
Sanchez is expected to be announced as a United player in the next 48 hours, with Armenian attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan going the other way to join Arsenal. Sanchez was driving up to Manchester to complete a medical on Saturday evening and an announcement is imminent.
“Rashford and Lingard, these are the up and coming players,” Thompson said on Sky Sports Gillette Soccer Saturday.
“Lingard’s been fantastic, he’s probably playing on the right, not wide-right.
“But is that going to be the position? Is it Rashford?
“So you worry about these guys who are good English talents, who have tried to force their way through if you want, academy players.
“That would be another kick in the teeth to them if they’re down the pecking order again.
“Particularly Rashford, Rashford will be wondering ‘where do I fit into this?’.
“His game-time is diminishing by the week.”
Rashford’s game time has decreased recently due to his poor form, particularly on the goalscoring front. Meanwhile, Anthony Martial, who is his competitor for that position on the left-flank, has scored in three consecutive league games for the first time in his United career.
Sanchez will likely play on the right in either a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation for United, and thus is unlikely to impede on Rashford’s progress given the Englishman plays on the left or up front.
He’ll provide him with yet another role model to learn off. There is no doubt that Sanchez could impact on Rashford negatively, if he’s chosen to play up front ahead of him at times, or on the left.
However, Jose Mourinho has proved he knows how to deal with Rashford well so far since becoming manager in July 2016, and trust should be placed in him to continue to do so.