The Red Devils boss says he won’t take any risks with the England international’s fitness
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed Marcus Rashford was withdrawn in Thursday’s Europa League match against AC Milan with a “little twinge”.
Rashford was replaced by Paul Pogba at half-time at the San Siro, sparking concerns about the England international’s fitness. His manager was keen stress the issue was not too serious but said that the club couldn’t take any risks with the the 23-year-old.
Despite Rashford being forced off, the Red Devils advanced past Milan 2-1 on aggregate.
What did Solskjaer say?
“Marcus a little twinge – we couldn’t take a chance on him,” Solskjaer said of Rashford.
Though it was forced upon him, Solskjaer’s substitution proved inspired, with Pogba scoring the only goal to send Manchester United through to the quarter-finals.
The 28-year-old, who was making his first Europa League appearance of the season, had been sidelined since the start of February with a thigh injury.
Speaking to reporters after the game, Solskjaer said he didn’t want to take any risks with Pogba’s fitness either.
“He couldn’t have played more than 45 minutes,” said Solskjaer. “[His return is a] big boost. The boys have done fantastic without him but we know his qualities.”
The bigger picture
Rashford has been a near ever-present for Manchester United this season, making 45 appearances in all competitions, with the only game he has missed being last week’s round of 16 first leg against Milan.
He has scored 18 goals and has a further 10 assists to his name, with the Red Devils also through to the FA Cup quarter-finals and currently sitting second in the Premier League.
His importance to the team is therefore without question and would explain why Solskjaer refused to take any risks, despite describing the injury as a minor.
There has been speculation that a long-standing shoulder problem may require surgery in the close season, though Rashford was keen to play down rumours about his fitness earlier this week, saying he “can rest when he retires.”
However, his early exit from the San Siro must place his participation in Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final trip to Leicester in doubt.
Gareth Southgate will also be minoring the situation closely, with Rashford due to link up with the England squad next week for World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.