'The problem is...' - Man Utd's Marcus Rashford told what to do to avoid criticism after 'internal matter'

Marcus Rashford silenced critics with a brilliant goal against Wolves last week but remains some way of last season's form.
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Garth Crooks insists Marcus Rashford would be given more slack for his off-pitch decisions if goals were flowing at Manchester United.

Rashford has dominated the headlines this past week after calling in sick for training on Friday, following a late night out in Belfast. ManchesterWorld understands United were misled over the 26-year-old's whereabouts, believing he flew back to the UK on Thursday.

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Erik ten Hag dropped his forward for the FA Cup win over Newport County but had him back in the starting line-up to score the opener in last week's 4-3 win at Wolves. It was only Rashford's fifth Premier League goal of the season and Crooks believes the scrutiny wouldn't have been so intense, had that total been closer to last season's 17.

"Footballers drinking and frequenting nightclubs is nothing new and was the norm in the 1970s and '80s," Crooks told BBC Sport. "In fact you were considered rather odd if you didn't.

"So why is Marcus Rashford being vilified and his private life suddenly of national media interest since he was seen in Belfast nightspots before missing training with Manchester United after reporting ill?

"Rashford has opted for a much lower profile since his successful campaigns which caused a government U-turn on free school meals during the pandemic. The problem for the striker is he has stopped scoring goals for United with regularity. What is abundantly clear and has never changed, is if you are scoring goals regularly you can do and say almost anything you want."

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Rashford's early goal at Molineux did ease the pressure that had been on his shoulders throughout the week, and after a dismal start to the season he now has three in his last five across all competitions. Ten Hag insisted the 'internal matter' had been dealt with and it is clear both player and manager have moved on since.

Ten Hag was far more lenient with Rashford than he was with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo, acknowledging that the boyhood Red opted to keep things in-house rather than go public. Rashford started again in Sunday’s 3-0 win at West Ham and played the full 90 minutes.