Senior members of the Manchester United dressing room are said to be “angry” at the latest controversy involving team-mate Marcus Rashford.
The 26-year-old missed training on Friday morning as Erik ten Hag’s squad were beginning preparations for the crucial trip to Newport County in the FA Cup. Rashford was too ill to report for duty, having only arrived back that morning after a trip to Belfast.
While this was sanctioned by the club, they were under the impression their forward would be returning to Manchester on Thursday. Instead, reports suggest Rashford went out Wednesday and Thursday night in the Northern Ireland capital, with sources indicating the player went on a ‘12-hour tequila bender‘ before arranging a private jet to fly him home at 7am on Friday morning.
Rashford was then made to train alone at the club’s training ground on Sunday while his team travelled to Newport County. United would win the game 4-2 in an exciting, if somewhat concerning, manner, confirming their place in the 5th round of the FA Cup.
The competition constitutes the last opportunity for the club to salvage some semblance of success this season, having already crashed out of the Champions League and Carabao Cup, while languishing in eighth place in the Premier League.
It’s likely for this exact reason why Rashford’s team-mates are believed to be so furious with the England international.
The Daily Mail reveals sources at Old Trafford say senior members of the dressing room are “unhappy” with his behaviour. “The players were told he was too ill to train, and then it came out that he’d been in the nightclub. They couldn’t believe that he would do that given the situation the club is in,” one source contended.
Similarly, these feelings appear to be mirrored by the club’s coaching staff. TalkSPORT reveals they are “concerned [that] Rashford’s lifestyle is having a negative impact on his career.”
During Ten Hag’s tenure at Old Trafford, Rashford has been involved in two more minor behavioural incidents. The first was being dropped after arriving late to a team meeting ahead of a trip to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The second was earlier this season, after Rashford went out to a nightclub to celebrate his birthday following the dismal 3-0 defeat in the Manchester Derby. Ten Hag described this incident as “unacceptable” at the time but contended it was an “internal matter”, mirroring the words he tensely used in a pre-match interview at Newport County when pressed on the incident.
This latest controversy is on a different level to the previous two, however. Yet it appears to have already been dealt with by the club.
Following “showdown talks” between the player and club officials, including Ten Hag, United released a statement last night indicating Rashford had taken full “responsibility for his actions” and the matter had been “dealt with internally”. The forward is now back in training and in contention for Thursday night’s game against Wolves.
The expediency of this decision comes as a surprise considering the almost flagrant unprofessionalism Rashford displayed during the incident.
Ten Hag’s interviews and press-conferences during his near-twenty months at the helm of Old Trafford have been constantly dominated by messages about attitude and work ethic. For his star forward to have defiantly defied these principles, but face a minor slap on the wrists, feels an odd response.
One wonders if Anthony Martial and Mason Mount were fit and in form, or Antony wasn’t utterly useless, would the Dutch manager have acquiesced so easily to a situation which must have enraged him privately. Needs must hey Erik?