Ralf Rangnick on Marcus Rashford's recent poor form
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Marcus Rashford’s future at Manchester United is currently up in the air. And not for the first time, either, after reportedly agreeing to join Barcelona back in the summer transfer window of 2018. A move to Catalonia ultimately didn’t take place then but, having struggled under Ralf Rangnick and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this term, it’s possible the England international will leave Old Trafford this time around.
It wasn’t meant to be like this.
After missing a crucial penalty for England in the European Championships final defeat to Italy back in the summer, everybody associated with club and country backed Rashford to come good.
After all of his splendid work off the field, the 24-year-old was a national treasure. He always will be, regardless of what happens between now and the end of his career.
United knew Rashford had played through the pain under Solskjaer last term and decided he needed shoulder surgery in order to improve.
However, ever since returning to the team, the England star has looked a shadow of his usual self.
With just five goals this term, Rashford is set to finish with his worst goalscoring numbers of his professional career.
Under Solskjaer, he couldn’t prevent the Norwegian from losing his job in November – less than 24 hours after a dismal 4-1 defeat to Watford at Vicarage Road.
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And he’s regressed further under Rangnick, with Anthony Elanga and Jadon Sancho way ahead of him in the pecking order.
It means that, as the Ten Hag era looms, Rashford’s United future is up in the air. Not for the first time, either.
In 2020, Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo revealed the striker had actually agreed to join Barcelona two years previously.
At the time, Rashford was strutting his stuff under Jose Mourinho – who had guided the club to Carabao Cup and Europa League football in his first season in charge.
It was stated at the time that the United star had ‘put himself’ in Barcelona’s orbit after a serious of impressive displays in trying circumstances.
After Barcelona got in touch with Rashford’s camp, the United star was excited about a potential move to the Nou Camp.
And the publication even said the United star ‘agreed’ a move to Barcelona after coming to the conclusion his development, under Mourinho, was stalling.
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Things then changed, however.
Rashford ultimately believed he wasn’t ready for the challenge of both joining a new team and changing his lifestyle.
And he then proceeded to sign a contract extension with United in 2019.
Now, it’ll be fascinating to see what unfolds.
At the age of 24, time is still very much on Rashford’s side as he looks to get his form back and become one of the best forwards on the planet.
But there’s also a sense that, perhaps, all parties involved would benefit from a departure.
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And what ultimately happens, as the summer transfer window nears, remains to be seen.
Speaking on Monday night, meanwhile, Roy Keane expressed a belief that Rashford had lost ‘hunger’ at United.
“Whether it’s [being] short on confidence, we’ve seen his quality before but we’ve not seen it for a year or two,” said Keane on Sky Sports.
“But it doesn’t look like he’s matured enough.
“We’ve seen a few games recently, when he was playing at Liverpool through the middle, I said he was playing like a child.
“It’s as if he’s not learnt about the game. He’s drifting. He’s lost the hunger.
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“These young players get a lot of money and good luck to them, but I think he’s lost the eye of the tiger and he’s struggling to get it back.”
And he added: “I think he’s taken his eye off the ball, whatever [it is] with his off-the-field stuff.
“Rashford has been around for a few years now, he’s got that experience and played international football.
“Wherever Man United want to go, Marcus is being left behind.
“He’s left out again tonight and he must be sitting on the bench going ‘where has it all gone wrong for me?’. He can get it back, he’s shown it before, but sometimes when you do lose it, it is hard to get it back.
“He’s got to get the hunger back into his game and make the runs like we’ve seen tonight from Elanga. Rashford has lost that bit of hunger, which is huge for a player. He is a talent but we’re not seeing it.”
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