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Since Jose Mourinho arrived at Manchester United two seasons ago, no player has made more appearances than Marcus Rashford. It’s a statistic that seems confusing right now, given that the player appears unhappy at his amount of game time.
Reports in the Daily Mirror this week from seasoned United reporter David McDonnell suggests the 20-year-old England international is willing to consider a move away from Old Trafford if Mourinho remains at the helm.
It’s a rumour worth taking seriously given the reliable source and it’s intriguing that the claim is that his main gripe is a lack of minutes on the pitch.
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The two things Mourinho did to upset Rashford amid claims England star wants to leave https://t.co/vGKS7V7DiS https://t.co/zQtjoWEcPw
In fairness the fact he has made more outings under Mourinho than any other player does not tell the whole story of his situation—as the time he actually spends on the field does not add up to a whole lot.
In fact, since Alexis Sanchez joined in January he has totalled 156 minutes on the pitch in the Premier League. That’s not even two full games in almost three months.
It was the clash against City that is believed to have pushed him over the edge, collecting eight minutes of action in one of the biggest games of the season.
Rashford is just 20-years-old but clearly feels he deserves to be a more important part of the set-up. It’s understandable that he would be frustrated. His rise has come to a sudden halt.
Sources close to the situation confirmed to me that Rashford has become increasingly agitated over the small number of opportunities he has been given in recent months, but figures around the club are also confident he is not angry enough to aggressively push for a move.
He has stated before that he knows how significant his role is as a local player in the Manchester United team.
There also seems no problem as far as his boss is concerned.
One source who is close to matters around Old Trafford explained to me: “Mourinho is actually a huge admirer of Rashford’s style and believes he is going to be a big player at the club for years to come. If he has not had as many minutes on the pitch this season, it might be because the manager is being cautious about putting too much pressure on his shoulders.”
Cynics would say the flip side of that argument is that Mourinho simply does not trust him, but insiders insist that is not the case.
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It was Man United’s official site that revealed Rashford had featured in 97 games under Mourinho. “I wasn’t aware of it before I saw it and it’s something to be proud of,” the England international explained.
But that quote was given before the Manchester derby clash at Etihad Stadium. Since then, his frustration seems to have boiled over.
“Marcus was really unhappy with being left out for the derby,” a source told the Mirror. “If Mourinho is still there next season, Marcus might not be, as he wants to start every game.”
But, seriously, where would he go?
While Rashford has made a serious impact since breaking into the first team at United, it is difficult to see how he could move to another club that would offer such ambition and stardom.
A glimpse at Danny Welbeck’s move to Arsenal gives an idea of how a big move can prove a letdown for a homegrown United lad. A look at the disappearance of Kelechi Iheanacho—a player of similar age and quality— from the back pages since he moved from Manchester City to Leicester City can provide an example of how his career might turn out if he leaves.
The United source added: “Look at Jesse Lingard. He had to show patience but there was always a belief and plan to get him as a first team regular. As far as I’m aware the coaches at the club believe Rashford is going to be a similar case.”
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While his concerns are now making news, it is interesting that Rashford speaks positively of Mourinho in the latest issue of club magazine Inside United.
“He’s a winner and he’s come here because of one thing: he wants to win trophies,” Rashford said. “That matches the mentality of the players. We’ve already won under him and everyone just wants to continue to do that. Everything else just helps you get to the main goal, which, in the end, is to win trophies.”
And when asked whether he was yet looking towards next season, he replied: “Not yet. Our main focus is finishing second in the league, that’s important for us, and winning the FA Cup.”
Understandable, but perhaps Rashford should be looking towards next season. Next season at United. He should focus on that aim of forcing his way into Mourinho’s starting plans.
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I am told Rashford is not close to walking away from United, the club that he has played for since seven years of age. And in all honesty there is little point in imagining a life away from Old Trafford anyway, because the club have absolutely no plan to let him leave.
I am told the club would not listen to offers for him, even if the player did push for a transfer.
There are rumours right now of a potential exit for Anthony Martial and that is far more likely, as explored in this article about him edging closer towards the exit door.
Rashford is Red and is going to remain so for years to come.