Rashford needs his first rest of the season against Real Sociedad

Marcus Rashford has played in every single one of Manchester United’s games this season.

He’s the only United player not to have had some sort of rest in this most frantic of campaigns.

Now, the perfect opportunity has presented itself for Rashford to finally get a night off.

United host Real Sociedad on Thursday night, holding a 4-0 first leg lead Rashford helped rack up in Turin last week.

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United cannot afford to take their visitors lightly – a professional job still needs to be done.

But it’s an opportunity for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to rest players who haven’t had much of a breather, who will be vitally important in the closing months of the season.

Dan James is back in form and would relish another start out wide. Juan Mata could come in on the right.

Solskjaer has said he won’t start Amad Diallo or Shola Shoretire on Thursday, but both will hope to get on out wide as substitutes.

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In Edinson Cavani’s absence, United are slightly thinner on the ground up front but there’s still no need to use Rashford there on Thursday.

The decision to leave Mason Greenwood on the bench against Newcastle felt harsh and he would likely be fresh if Solskjaer asked him to lead the line here.

Or Anthony Martial may be handed a relatively low-pressure opportunity to turn around his recent poor goalscoring form.

Either way, Rashford should get his long-awaited rest no matter what happens on Thursday night.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.