Ten Hag not worried selecting Rashford will send wrong message to squad


Erik ten Hag said he was not concerned that starting Marcus ­Rashford at Wolves on Thursday could send the wrong message but the ­Manchester United manager has reminded the squad that to be a top player “demands a certain way of life”.

 Rashford was disciplined after he missed training on Friday after allegedly partying in Belfast into the early hours of that morning. Ten Hag dropped the forward for the FA Cup victory at Newport on Sunday and was asked whether he worried about how it may be interpreted if Rashford were in the XI at Molineux.

Marcus Rashford disciplined by Erik ten Hag but could still play against Wolves

“I didn’t pick him on Sunday,” the manager said. “We draw the line from that point on. We move on.”

The Dutchman outlined what he expects from his squad. “The players at this level need to manage themselves – that is what you can demand from the player,” he said. “The player has to know what is good and not good. When you want to play top football, it demands a certain way of life. Always.”

Ten Hag claimed that United’s ­players did not lack respect for him. In October Rashford was seen in ­Chinawhite, a Manchester club, on the evening of the 3-0 defeat against ­Manchester City, a trip Ten Hag described as “unacceptable”.

The previous month Ten Hag was called a liar by Jadon ­Sancho for saying the ­forward was left out of the game at Arsenal for not training well.

Given these episodes Ten Hag was asked whether his players had shown a lack of respect. “It’s nothing to do with that but, as I said, let’s focus on the game, let’s move on,” he said. “We have to focus on winning football games.”

Whereas Rashford is available for selection, Sancho was exiled from the squad, told he could return only if he apologised and he has since been loaned to Borussia Dortmund. “We can sort out everything internally,” Ten Hag said of Rashford’s case when questioned over the different treatment. “Jadon chose to go public.”

Ten Hag was pressed on whether he was imposing the right discipline. “It’s nothing to do with me but, in football, you need discipline and that is on the pitch but also off the pitch. There is a line between [right and wrong]; every player, every pro, knows this, what is required.”

The manager believes Rashford can recapture the form of last season when he scored 30 goals. “Last two Premier League games [he has] two goals, an assist. There is a ­developing, strong bond between Marcus ­Rashford and Rasmus Hรธjlund and we want to continue that process.”

Andrรฉ Onana is available after Cameroon’s exit from the Africa Cup of Nations but Mason Mount remains injured.


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