Marcus Rashford is a doubt for England’s upcoming fixtures with an ankle problem, according to the Telegraph.
They report the Manchester United forward may need to drop out of Gareth Southgate’s plans to face Iceland and Denmark, because he is still carrying an injury from last season.
From a United perspective, the report offers some insight into why Rashford wasn’t at his best after lockdown.
Injury explains a lot
Rashford netted just three times after lockdown, but his generally performance level was noticeably down.
There seemed to be a real, frustrating reluctance to burn past defenders and drive into the box.
It was such a contrast from his form in the early part of the season, when he was almost carrying United’s attack before his injury in January.
He was playing within himself, and the fact his ankle was ‘causing him problems’ during matches explains a lot.
Evra’s may regret harsh criticism
After United’s 1-1 draw with West Ham last month, Patrice Evra really went for Rashford on Sky Sports, as quoted by the Daily Mail.
Perhaps someone still with links to the club might have been aware of Rashford’s lingering injury issues.
A reminder of what he said at the time: “I’m disappointed with some of the performances.
“They’ve been some harsh words about Pogba and the penalty incident but I’ve not seen any harsh words yet about Rashford.
“He had a really poor game today.”
That Rashford didn’t impress in that West Ham game, and others post-lockdown, but this lingering injury issue provides some important context and a valid explanation.
Rashford still deserves credit
Rashford started every game after the restart and deserves credit for playing through the pain barrier for United.
United need players who will do everything for the cause, although there are questions to be asked over whether our medical staff or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should have protected him better.
We can’t ask any more from Rashford than he keeps making himself available, even when injury was visibly impacting his game.
It’s clear that Rashford needs to make the most of the limited rest period – which should mean not playing for England next week – in order to be back to his best next season.
Otherwise, we face the prospect of Rashford playing at the same level he ended last season; within himself and trying to protect himself from further issues.
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