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Other SportsNeville urges Rashford to knuckle down to avoid unwanted reputation

Neville urges Rashford to knuckle down to avoid unwanted reputation

Gary Neville has urged Marcus Rashford to improve his “choices and his timing” after another turbulent few days for the Manchester United striker.

Rashford was left out of United’s squad for their 4-2 win over Newport County in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, with his absence initially being put down to illness.

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However, boss Erik ten Hag suggested there was more to it when he said there was an “internal matter” at play after United’s victory at Rodney Parade.

Rashford was pictured in a Belfast nightclub on Wednesday with the club reportedly aware of that trip, but he was also seen out in the city on Thursday night, just hours before he was due to attend training.

Having called in sick on Friday, and missed the game at the weekend, Rashford held talks with the club yesterday, after which a statement was released which claimed the matter was now closed after the England international took “responsibility for his actions”.

Rashford has managed just four goals in 26 appearances in all competitions for United this season and has drawn criticism for some lacklustre displays.

Former United full-back Neville believes it’s time the 26-year-old knuckled down and started producing on the pitch.

He told BBC Breakfast: “To me, going out for a drink or going out for a night out is something that every football player will do and should do so I’ve got no problem with that whatsoever. They need to enjoy themselves.

“It’s just all about choices and timing. Manchester United have just had a winter break. They’ve had a couple of weeks off so there was a better moment for him to choose to go out. I would say, go out and have your moment where you relax with your friends, but your timing has to be right.”

It is not the first time Rashford has stepped out of line since Ten Hag took charge.

In December 2022, he was dropped from United’s starting line-up for the trip to Wolves after being late to a team meeting, though he came off the bench to score the only goal in a 1-0 win for the Red Devils.

And in November, he was also dropped to the bench for their EFL Cup defeat to Newcastle United after celebrating his birthday in a nightclub just a few hours after Ten Hag’s team were thrashed 3-0 by neighbours Manchester City.

Neville added: “Marcus himself knows – he’s an experienced player now, we’re not talking about a young lad – but he’s done it a couple of times in the last few months.

“I’ve always seen Marcus as being really responsible, a good professional and someone who works hard every single day. I know he’s going through a dip in form at this moment in time but it’s happened twice and it can sometimes become your personality if you’re not careful.

“If you do it too many times people can start saying, ‘what’s happening in his life?’ He just needs to relax, calm down, choose when to go out and get back to playing football at the levels we know he can.”

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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