Speaking in his Sunday Times column, Rooney did not mince words about the attitude and form of the two front men.
“I wouldn’t play Cristiano Ronaldo, and I wouldn’t play Marcus Rashford,” he said.
“If I was in Ten Hag’s position my main concern would be getting energy on the pitch.
“[Ronaldo has] let it be known that he wants to leave the club … I’d let him … the task for Ten Hag is to produce a team that can compete for the title in three or four years’ time. That means rebuilding with younger players.”
Rooney’s comments about Ronaldo were not unexpected following his discussion of the situation in the same column last week. But his views on Rashford may be a surprise to many supporters, as he suggests that the club might be better to let him go.
“As for Marcus, I think he needs to do a lot of soul-searching and figure out what he wants, for his own good, before anything else,” Rooney said.
“Because watching him is a real concern: he looks like he wants to be anywhere but on a football pitch. I haven’t seen him smile on the field for a long time.
“His performances have dipped … you look at the difference between Marcus now and when he first came into the team: the passion he showed, the smile on his face when he scored. It’s night and day.
“He needs to look at himself … you can’t just keep rolling him out when clearly something’s not right.”
The club’s record goalscorer made it clear that he wanted the best for Rashford and spoke well of the player’s character.
And although Rooney’s opinions are like his football – powerful and direct, he is nonetheless saying what most United fans, and other pundits, are thinking but are too afraid to say.
With the possible arrival of Antony from Ajax and/or Cody Gakpo from PSV, along with teen sensation Alejandro Garnacho knocking at the door, there could soon be plenty of rivalry for United’s wing slots and Rashford may be running out of time to re-find the form of the 2020/21 season.
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