Rashford was spotted partying in Belfast earlier this week. The club initially stated that the 26-year-old’s Northern Ireland trip took place on Wednesday, but reports indicate that photos and footage of the night out were actually taken on Thursday, the day before he called in sick for training.
Ten Hag cracked the whip ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup clash with Newport County by leaving Rashford out of the matchday squad altogether. He also explained prior to kick-off that the forward may be disciplined behind the scenes, saying: “It’s an internal matter. I will deal with it.”
Despite Ten Hag’s blunt response, ex-Premier League star Richards feels that a history of friction between the manager and a selection of his players could have been handled more effectively.
“I think the whole debacle with Sancho and making it so public, [Ten Hag] didn’t do himself any favours,” he told the BBC. “Then the Rashford story… going out when he’s supposed to be at training. The whole situation with Ronaldo as well.
“It’s always going to be tough managing a club like Man United. Things need to be kept in-house as much as possible. I just think at times he’s caused his own problems by making things public.”
Ronaldo eventually fled to Saudi Arabia after being exiled from United’s first team. Sancho faced a similarly desperate situation after Ten Hag admitted the winger was not selected against Arsenal in September due to poor performances in training.
“Jadon, on his performances in training we did not select him,” Ten Hag said. “You have to reach a level every day at Manchester United and we can make choices in the front line. So for this game he was not selected.”
Sancho, who publicly disputed Ten Hag’s claims on social media, has not played a single minute for United since. He will spend the rest of the season at Borussia Dortmund after joining his former employers on loan.