The 24-year-old forward has endured his most difficult season to date at Old Trafford this term in what has been a campaign to forget for the club as a collective
Marcus Rashford’s tendency to go missing from games for Manchester United this season has led to one club source claiming he has a habit “becoming a ghost”.
The England international was forced to play catch-up after he delayed shoulder surgery to play for the Three Lions in Euro 2020, meaning the operation eventually came at the start of the Premier League season. As a result, Rashford missed the opening months of the campaign and did not return to match fitness until October, though his individual form has failed to spark into life since then.
Sitting on just five goals across all competitions, Rashford’s on-pitch struggles have led to speculation surrounding his future at the club. In the wake of the recent derby defeat away at Manchester City, reports surfaced that the 24-year-old was thought to be ‘exploring his options’ when it came to a potential change of scenery. Rashford has previously confessed he would not rule out testing himself abroad and both FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain were linked with his signature.
According to ESPN, those close to United have suggested Rashford’s inability to make an impact on games is starting to become a worry. The club’s trophy drought is set to continue for another season after being eliminated from all competitions and finding themselves 20 points behind Pep Guardiola’s City.
In the wake of the Champions League defeat by Atletico Madrid, things turned sour outside Old Trafford when a small section of United fans voiced their frustration directly at Rashford who appeared to respond in angry fashion.
Grainy footage of the Red Devils number 10 gesturing to the fans was misconstrued as something offensive from the forward, though he immediately clarified that was not the case with a social media statement.
“There are 2 sides to every story. A video can paint a thousand words and in this case lead to inaccurate info being shared on social media. Guys for weeks I’ve been heckled, threatened, questioned and last night my emotion got the better of me. I’m a human being. Reading and hearing that stuff about yourself every day it wears you down. No one is more critical of my performance than me.
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“But what you see in this video lacks context. I had been heckled from the minute I stepped foot outside the ground, abuse not just aimed at my football. People were looking for a reaction from me. Phones were at the ready. Of course I should have walked straight past and ignored it, that’s what we’re supposed to do right?
“I want to clarify 2 things. The first being what I actually said to the man throwing abuse at me which was “come over here and say it to my face” (a fact security can back up) and secondly, the fact I used my forefinger to direct the fan to ‘come over and say it to my face.’ I did not gesture with my middle finger. I’m not entitled. This isn’t ego. I’m upset. I’m disappointed. And in that moment it was silly but I was being human.”
Rashford’s decline has been so step he was not selected in the England squad for the latest round of friendlies, with some figures at United hoping the forward uses his time off to regain both form and fitness ahead of the league season’s final furlong.
Ralf Rangnick’s side are chasing fourth spot to secure Champions League football next term, but sit in sixth – four points behind Arsenal having played a game more.