Rashford back in Man Utd squad for Leicester meeting

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed that Marcus Rashford is fit to return to the Manchester United squad for the trip to Leicester City.

The England forward has been absent since the final of Euro 2020 after undergoing shoulder surgey.

Rashford could now be in line for his first appearance of the season as Solskjaer’s side travel to the King Power Stadium.

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“He’s in the squad, yes,” Solskjaer confirmed.

“If he is going to start or not I can’t tell you, because it wouldn’t be right.

He has worked really hard throughout the whole layout and has been really bright this week. He is fit and raring to go.

Rashford played an hour of a behind-closed-doors game last week in a bid to build up his match fitness.

His return comes ahead of a fixture in which Manchester United will be without both of their first-choice centre-halves.

Raphael Varane picked up an injury during the Nations League finals with France, while Harry Maguire has returned to training after a calf issue but is set to again be unavailable.

Fred and Edinson Cavani are also set to miss out after playing in the early hours of Friday morning Manchester-time for Brazil and Uruguay respectively.

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Ahead of a tough run of fixtures for his side, Solskjaer hopes United can build from a mixed start to the season.

“We’ve added some exciting players going forward, we’ve scored goals, and it’s a nice time to be an attacking player for us as well,” the Norwegian said.

“We need to keep that going, keep attacking, keep having the Man United DNA as well as defending well, come together as a team, make sure we’re hard to play against.

“I can’t think [about] Atalanta now, or Liverpool. It’s only Leicester. And that’s probably going to be the key, that we only focus one game at a time, maybe even spells in games. We’re looking forward to this run.”

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Parker: Solskjaer must learn from Ronaldo mistake like Fergie did

It made no sense at all. There was no reason for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer not to start Cristiano Ronaldo against Everton. He has got somebody who as fit and ready as a 36-year-old can be. He’s desperate to play every single game because he still wants to be the highest scorer in the Premier League. To have him sitting on the bench rather than having him on the pitch in front of you is just not the ideal scenario. He wants to be out there.

When you have your best players you play them. What he tried to do with Anthony Martial didn’t make any sense. Martial scored but that’s it. He didn’t contribute anything else to the game. Ronaldo has to start. If anything you could have put Edinson Cavani in the wide position and have him running behind Ronaldo because of his movement and he will run beyond and create space for the Portuguese. When Ronaldo does come on he is playing as a midfielder.

I say this all the time about United, they have no cohesion in the team. There is nothing that joins together. They have a backline and a frontline that are not joined by the bit in the middle. Everything is slow and predictable. They are being overran by so many midfields, not just in Europe but in the Premier League. You can’t talk about winning the Premier League when you don’t have one of the top 10 midfields in the league.

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You want Ronaldo on the pitch, not on the bench, it’s as simple as that. He needs to play until he can’t, or until United improve that much as a team that people are happy for him to make fleeting appearances now and again. Right now United need someone on the pitch who they believe is going to score a goal.

Could you imagine Everton when they saw him on the bench? Rafa Benitez would have been thinking they had a lot of injuries but with Ronaldo not starting that takes a lot of pressure off the defence. Michael Keane and Yerry Mina didn’t look under much stress. There was no tempo about United and the substitutions should have been made at half-time, to let everyone know that you know. When the first half was so poor, following on from the smash and grab in midweek, you show that you have had enough, change it at half-time, don’t do it after 60 minutes. Cavani needed Ronaldo out there, so did Bruno Fernandes. I think some of those players at Manchester United are already thinking ‘we need Ronaldo, we are a one-man team’.

When I was playing for United the squads weren’t as big as they are now, we played more games for less money, the games were more physical and the pitches weren’t as good.

But if the boss [Sir Alex Ferguson] was going to start Eric Cantona on the bench then I think all the heads in the dressing room would have turned and said, ‘no you’re not!’. In 1991/92 the boss left Mark Hughes on the bench when we played Nottingham Forest around Easter time and we went on a poor spell that cost us the league. Everyone was going ‘wow’. Nottingham Forest had Nigel Clough at centre-half and you thought that would have been perfect for Sparky, but he left Sparky out and we lost the game.

Mark Hughes in action for Manchester United

Image credit: Getty Images

It’s not just about not having a player in the team, it’s the impact that decision has on the rest of the team. It’s like when Bryan Robson wasn’t fit to play we were all thinking ‘Robbo’s not here, how are we going to get around that’? You have to think about what the rest of the players will think. If Solskjaer had left Martial on the bench that wouldn’t have made a difference, but you leave a presence like Ronaldo on the bench then it affects the team. Some of those players would have seen that and thought ‘hold on, are we going to win this game? Who’s going to score our goals? Who’s going to do this and that?’

The boss was wanting to try something different by leaving Sparky out, but with the squad size and finances at the time we didn’t have many other players and nobody who could just come in and replace him. Now you have more quality on the bench but we didn’t at the time.

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With the older players I think you have to play them until you can see something is wrong or they are honest enough to say something. You have to trust the player. You will see something and then ask for honesty from the player. Ronaldo hasn’t come here to sit on the bench and he wants to get continuity and to keep scoring goals. He wants to set records. If you are a professional footballer then you want to be involved in every game, especially if you are playing for a club the size of Manchester United.

I hope Solskjaer learns from this. He should have help from the people around him. I would like to think that someone on the coaching team questioned him, because the fans did and so did everyone watching it. A year ago he was playing regularly for Juventus, so how do you suddenly put the brakes on now? Don’t come out with the Premier League is tougher than Serie A.

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‘We just want what we deserve’ – Solskjaer blames Klopp for Man United's penalty problems

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested that Jurgen Klopp is to blame for Manchester United’s lack of penalties.

Solskjaer inferred that previous comments by the German continue to influence referees after his side were denied a number of penalties in two encounters with West Ham.

Klopp had said in January of this year that Manchester United appeared to get favourable treatment in the opposition’s penalty box, suggesting they had won more in two years than his entire spell in charge of Liverpool.

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While his Manchester United counterpart did not reference Klopp by name, Solskjaer made it clear that he thinks the officiating of his side was impacted by Klopp’s comments.

“We just have to hope we get what we deserve,” Solskjaer said ahead of Manchester United’s game with Aston Villa.

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“We should have had three pens in the last two games.

“There was a certain manager last year who was starting to worry about us getting penalties and after that it seems like the decisions are more difficult to give [for us].

“I’ve seen a big, big difference since then on, but we just have to leave it to the refs and hope that they will make the right calls very soon.”

Cristiano Ronaldo was denied what appeared a certain shout for a spot-kick in the dying moments of Manchester United’s Premier League win over West Ham last Sunday.

The decision nearly cost Solskjaer’s side victory, but Mark Noble’s attempt from 12 yards was saved by David De Gea after West Ham had been awarded their own stoppage time penalty.

Manchester United had been awarded six penalties in the 16-game old 2020-21 Premier League season at the time of Klopp’s comment in early January.

They would win a further five across the remaining 22 league fixtures.

Mike Dean will take charge of their fixture against Aston Villa as Manchester United look to move top of the Premier League.

They are level on points with Chelsea and Liverpool after five games, and are able to call upon Edinson Cavani again, with the striker fit to return to Solskjaer’s matchday squad.

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