Marcus Rashford deserves praise for playing through the pain again

When the Manchester United team news came out ahead of last night’s match against Arsenal, it contained a couple of surprises.

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was expected to play at right back, but Axel Tuanzebe replaced the ill defender and switched to left back.

And Marcus Rashford, who limped off at West Ham only eight days before the game, was surprisingly fit to start up front.

He did not look fully sharp and put his body on the line again – but at what cost?

Photo by Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images


Rashford plays through the pain – again

Rashford did not look fit when he took to the pitch against West Ham, even before he limped off in the second half.

And he put himself through the pain barrier for the cause once again last night, making himself available at a time when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is short on strikers.

At a time when many United fans are demanding that their players share their passion for the club, that is something to be applauded.

Unsurprisingly, Rashford again struggled – looking miles from his best – but made it through the 90 minutes and did have a first half chance to open the scoring.

Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

But at what cost?

Rashford is important to United and he will be important all season. What that means is that there might not be that much sense in being available in the short term if it means he is out long term.

There is also an argument that having a fully fit Mason Greenwood – young and raw as he is – would be preferable in terms of the performance of the team than a half-fit Rashford.

In truth, they’re strong decisions that Solskjaer and his fitness staff need to make.

All Rashford can do is make himself available for selection wherever there’s a chance he can represent his hometown club.

It’s up to Solskjaer and his staff to make decisions in the best interests of the team and Rashford’s long-term fitness. But the striker’s commitment to the cause needs applauding.

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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.