Marcus Rashford missed Manchester United’s trip to Newport after a boozy night in Belfast (Picture: Getty)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has defended Erik ten Hag over his treatment of Marcus Rashford and hopes the Manchester United forward has had a ‘wake-up call’ after receiving a slap on the wrist for an ill-advised night out in Belfast.
Rashford – United’s top scorer last season with 30 goals – was left out of Ten Hag’s squad for the side’s FA Cup clash with Newport two weeks ago, after an apparent illness had ruled him out of training.
But it subsequently emerged that Rashford had been partying in Northern Ireland’s capital before his absence from training and the 26-year-old was slapped with a hefty £650,000 fine for his midemenour.
Ten Hag has been keen to draw a line under the episode and the England international returned to United’s starting XI against Wolves, scoring a 5th-minute opener in a 4-3 thriller at Molineux.
The attacker also played 90 minutes of the Red Devils’ comprehensive 3-0 victory over West Ham last weekend and is expected to continue his run in the side away to Unai Emery’s high-flying Aston Villa on Sunday.
Solskjaer enjoyed his time coaching Rashford across his three-year tenure as United’s manager and was impressed with the Englishman’s exceptional goal tally last term.
Speaking to Reuters in Bengaluru during a three-day visit of India, Solskjaer said he hoped Rashford had learned a lesson and turned a corner in the wake of his off-field controversy.
Solskjaer hopes Rashford has had a ‘wake-up call’ (Picture: Getty)
‘Obviously I managed Marcus for three years and I know him,’ the Norwegian said.
‘It’s not my job to go out and discuss his performances, but last season he was fantastic and it’s about consistency in football.
‘Marcus and many others haven’t hit the heights this season.’
The Norwegian was sacked just under three years into his tenure as United manager (Picture: Getty)
The Norwegian added: ‘I’m sure he had a wake-up call last week and hopefully that will spur him on.
‘Is it the manager’s job to get the best out of him, or is it mostly himself or any player’s responsibility to get the best out of yourself? I think that’s more it.’
Solskjaer, a treble winner with United in 1999, stressed that Rashford had to be willing to ‘sacrifice’ if he has wants to truly reach his undoubted potential.
‘He’s had a fantastic career, some ups and downs,’ he went on.
‘Now we hope he’s going to hit that consistency, because I know and we all know there’s a top player there. It’s difficult to be at the top all the time, but it takes sacrifice.’
The England forward has managed just five goals for United this season (Picture: Getty)
Roy Keane, Solskjaer’s former captain at United, blasted Rashford for behaving like an ‘idiot’ while speaking on the Stick to Football podcast earlier this month.
‘I don’t think he [Marcus Rashford] was ever that perfect,’ the ex-United and Republic of Ireland midfielder said.
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