View from the terraces

Marcus Rashford’s career crossroads: is it time to leave Man Utd?

The striker is reportedly ‘considering his future’ at Old Trafford 

Could Marcus Rashford soon be on his way out of Manchester United? Born and bred a “red”, the academy graduate is reportedly frustrated with his lack of game time at Old Trafford and speculation in the transfer rumour mill has seen the striker linked with clubs in the Premier League and across Europe. 

The 24-year-old has “endured a tough time” since returning from injury in October, the Daily Mail said. He has scored just four times in 19 Premier League appearances this season and with the World Cup on the horizon he was also left out of the most recent England squad for the friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast

Unless United give him reassurances over his game time, Rashford could cut his ties with the Old Trafford club, talkSPORT reported. And according to football journalist Fabrizio Romano, sources have said that Rashford is “considering his future” and is seeking “clarity”. 

Despite the difficult campaign this season, United are ready to open contract talks with Rashford, ESPN reported. The player’s contract is set to expire in the summer of 2023 but there is an option of an additional year and United are keen to tie him down to a long-term deal. Sources told ESPN that Rashford is “open-minded about his future and is in no rush to decide his next move”.

Abuse and lack of direction 

During the pandemic Rashford made headlines and received an MBE in recognition of his campaign to support vulnerable children, ESPN said. He successfully campaigned for free school meals to be provided during lockdown and “forced the government into two U-turns to extend their support during the summer and winter holidays”. His campaign resulted in policy change.

On the pitch though things have since turned sour for the out-of-sorts forward and he’s been a target for abuse by some fans. “Feeding a couple of million hungry kids only buys you so much time when people decide you turned your back on a half-chance against Aston Villa,” said Oliver Holt in The Mail on Sunday. Marginalising Rashford “could be the worst error” United have made this decade. “Who can blame him for struggling amid the abuse and lack of direction at Old Trafford?”

Rashford is “at a crossroads” and is debating whether his United career should end, said Jamie Jackson in The Guardian. “There is a disconnect here, a dislocation. The lad from Wythenshawe’s living of the dream has soured. It was never meant to be this way.”

A ‘heartbreaking’ decision to make?

With his future uncertain and his relationship with United souring, Rashford has been linked with a move to Arsenal. The Gunners are “in the market for a frontline striker” and will offer Rashford “an escape from Old Trafford this summer”, The Mirror reported. Barcelona and Tottenham have also been mentioned as possible suitors. 

Whatever Rashford does he will “have to think long and hard about his lifelong love affair” with Man Utd, The Mirror said. Because leaving the club he joined aged seven would be “heartbreaking”. 

Former Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler faced a “similar agonising dilemma when he was at the height of his powers” at Anfield. After leaving for Leeds, he admitted that he “never really came to terms” with that decision. “I know how Marcus will feel,” Fowler said. “He loves United like I love Liverpool and he will be thinking he can’t turn his back on the club where he grew up. But he has a big decision to make.”

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