Opinion: Where has it all gone wrong for Marcus Rashford?

The Manchester United player has been at the centre of the news this week for various reasons.
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League
Manchester United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League / Alex Livesey - Danehouse/GettyImages

Marcus Rashford has been at the centre of all things surrounding Manchester United this week. From a drunken night in Belfast to reports of a summer exit to Paris, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions around any fan of his.

The Red Devil has endured a poor overall season thus far, being much of a shadow of his blistering standards set last campaign. It is only within the last few games that the English forward has shown signs of a rejuvenation with some encouraging performances.

Yet perhaps at the most inconvenient time for him personally, things are looking bleak once again.

Where did it all begin?

Not just this week, but it really began in July 2023. The forward was rewarded with a bumper contract after an incredible 2022/23 campaign that saw him score 30 goals and often single handedly carry games for United.

With a new £325,000 a week deal in the bag until 2028, so were his best performances. All those scenarios where Rashford would win 3 points with the flick of a switch would become less and less frequent. How could it switch so suddenly when Erik Ten Hag was still in charge?

New Year, new controversies…

Rashford was omitted from United’s 4-2 win against Newport County on Sunday, nowhere to be seen. The reason given was due to an illness sustained in the days prior.

News on social media had placed Rashford partying in a Belfast club in those days prior, thus a statement by the club was released on Monday:

""Marcus has taken responsibility for his actions. This has been dealt with as an internal disciplinary matter, which is now closed.""

Man Utd statement

In the public eye, the matter was all but closed. It didn’t stop the media around this story from prying further, and for Erik Ten Hag to be asked further about it ahead of Thursday’s game against Wolves. In fact, more of a scrutiny has been placed over the double standards of such a disciplinary issue given the extreme measures that were taken to demote Jadon Sancho. The winger was promptly shipped out to Borussia Dortmund on loan earlier this month. Another example being Cristiano Ronaldo, who was driven out of the club after publicising such frustrations at the mannerisms of the club.

Ten Hag said:

"“He has taken responsibility and the rest is an internal matter. Case closed,""

Ten Hag on Rashford

Of course, this is not the first time that Rashford has had disciplinary issues under Ten Hag. The player was late to training last season and dropped from the starting line-up. In typical fashion, the player bounced back in that very game but the miserable mood of this season would make that an unlikely scenario to replicate on Thursday.

This is not a kid who is 19 anymore. Rashford has the task of being a leading senior figure within the squad, but is certainly not acting like it and matters such as this coming to public spotlight are rightly scrutinised when there is a generation of talent and fans who see him as a role model.

Is a move to PSG on the cards?

The second half of this week has seen rumours circulating of Rashford possibly moving onto France in the summer.

Paris Saint Germain have been keen admirers of the forward for some years now, with a heavy interest in him last summer before he signed the bumper contract. As those things with written signatures don’t mean a great deal in football these days, a move could still be on the cards for a number of reasons.

Rashford’s party would presumably love to see him be a leading man for a European giant. He has had elements of that in this United side, but never fully - whether it has been Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Cristiano Ronaldo or Casemiro taking that seal of approval away from him.

Especially if Kylian Mbappe was to leave France in the summer, the likelihood of this transfer happening could intensify as the Qatar based club would be looking for the next face of their new era.

As far as United are concerned, they would not actively be looking to sell him, however a lucrative offer could be hard to turn down from PSG (or even Saudi Arabia) given United’s struggles to balance the books when it comes to Financial Fair Play. Under new INEOS management, it is unclear yet as to whether they see Rashford as being a leading figure in their pursuit for redemption. Rumours have circulated that many of the top bill players such as Raphael Varane and Casemiro could be shipped out and replaced with more astute signings on lower wages.

Could Marcus Rashford be another name on that list?