The Manchester United striker can make up for his recent blunder by doing his day job to the best of his ability



Like Marcus Rashford, we have all made mistakes. How we react is what matters

Within the story of Marcus Rashford’s trip to Belfast last week there was a lot of detail about what he did, from how many drinks he supposedly consumed to what he ordered for dinner. Imagine being a 26-year-old going through a tough time professionally, making a bad decision, and every element being plastered over newspapers and websites. Few industries are subject to this level of intrusion, making it important for a young man like Rashford to get the balance right.

I will not condone what Rashford did. It was a bad decision to be in a nightclub until the early hours in Northern Ireland before calling in sick on a work day. Although Rashford is young by any normal measure, he has been at the top of this industry for almost a decade and should understand what is and is not acceptable.

Footballers are, however, judged to a higher standard than most because they are seen as role models thanks to their financial success and popularity with supporters. This results in people reacting as if the world is ending when these situations arise. Footballers should be allowed out to enjoy themselves but Rashford’s timing was clearly naive. He knows he will be recognised from Manchester to Melbourne, so going incognito is extremely difficult. All the same, moving on from the situation is sensible. He is not the first to find himself in hot water over this type of event and he certainly will not be the last.

Rashford is struggling with his form, unable to replicate the personal highs he has achieved in recent seasons. From my experience, when everything is going right for a player their thinking is clearer, allowing them to make better decisions on and off the pitch. Manchester United is a high pressure environment with extremely high expectations. Performances mean his place in the team is under greater scrutiny than he has known in years, which can be a heavy burden.

In almost any other job if you want to blow off a bit of steam, no one outside your immediate work environment will care. With Rashford his extracurricular activities are deemed noteworthy by the wider world. Few of us can review our mid-20s and say we made consistently sensible choices – that is the nature of life. We do not have too many 26-year-old chief executives of business because making consistently well thought-out decisions requires committing a few mistakes along the way. Everyone makes mistakes, you accept them, learn and move on.

It is a critical few months for Rashford because he will be aiming to find form before the Euros in Germany this summer and I suspect these headlines will not have gone down well with Gareth Southgate. United will, at the same time, be trying desperately to qualify for the Champions League against the backdrop of the Ineos investment, which could bring major changes, and I am sure Rashford would want to be at the forefront of a new era at the club he has grown up with.

Erik ten Hag has shown that he is willing to discipline players – but also forgive if they are willing to take responsibility and apologise. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Rashford was in the wrong and, importantly, he knows it. He also knows the best way to make it up to the fans, his teammates and coaches is by doing his day job to the best of his ability. Making smart decisions is not just about knowing when to pass or shoot; it comes in all aspects of life for footballers who are under the microscope. Mistakes are part of the rich tapestry of life and most important is what we learn from them.


Post a Comment

Post a Comment (0)