England manager Gareth Southgate has defended Marcus Rashford‘s recent rip to New York, after the forward pulled out of this round of international games through injury.
Rashford posted pictures of himself enjoying a break in NYC, captioning one of the photos with ‘downtime’.
As reported by The Daily Mail, Southgate insists he has no issue with Rashford’s trip, stating the players are free to do as they please if they are not included in the squads.
“Once he’s ruled out of the squad, it’s entirely up to him how he spends his time. The players don’t get a lot of break. I’m sure our players will be flying off wherever after tomorrow’s game. If they get 48 hours with the schedule as it is, I think they have to take advantage of it,” said Southgate.
The change in tone from Southgate came after claiming he wouldn’t miss Rashford for England’s Euro 2024 qualifying double header as they haven’t often been able to call on him.
“We haven’t often had him… when you haven’t had him that is different to it being a loss,” he had said.
The comment came as a bit of a surprise off the back of the World Cup, where Rashford was available and firing, only to be afforded limited minutes by Southgate.
England were knocked out at the quarter-final stage and Rashford’s form since the tournament has been electric, leaving fans wondering what might have been had Southgate shown more faith in the United man.
Southgate had also previously said he’s pleased to see Rashford scoring goals but did admit his frustration once more at his failure to consistently deliver at international level.
“It’s good to see him in the goal scoring form he’s in. When he’s getting a chance, you’re expecting him to score. There’s been a period in the last couple of years where he’s not been as hot as that and that’s been frustrating, but he is in good form and we hope that can continue,” he added.
It is unclear on the extend of Rashford injury but he is expected to be available for United’s crunch Premier League game against Newcastle a week today (Sunday).
Rashford will almost certainly have to play a key role if United are to enjoy a successful end to what has been a marathon season.
Still in two cup competitions and facing a fight a to finish in the Premier League top four, Erik ten Hag will be desperate for his main man to hit the ground running after recharging in the States.