ERIK TEN HAG has clearly lost patience with Marcus Rashford.
The fans have long since.
This latest episode when he failed to make training on Friday, having been partying in Belfast the night before, will be the final straw for some.
Rashford would have been hoping that his goal and defiant celebration against Tottenham last time out would have brought people back round to his side.
It is going to take a bit more than that now.
After that incident in the 2-2 home draw with Spurs, Rashford implied on social media that his mimicking of people talking too much about his form was actually in response to an outcry against his support of Jadon Sancho on ‘X’.
Maybe instead it was him having a poorly thought out dig at pundits and more seriously fans of United who have grown increasingly frustrated with his performances this season.
At Wigan in the previous round of the Cup the Red Devils fans were afforded the whole length of one stand, and 7,500 of them filled it.
It was the flank that Rashford operated down in the second-half.
While it was not picked up on TV he was getting plenty of criticism from a devoted support base who follow this club everywhere.
So before anyone leaps to the always ludicrous theory that this piece is a case of the media building someone up to knock them down, read what two devoted fans had to say after that night.
Here is one: “Most of us can accept that a player isn’t good enough, but when someone refuses to put the effort in, plays for himself and tries stupid, arrogant showboating flicks all the time…
“I was sat on the third row and saw one incident where Wigan had a goal kick or free-kick.
“Bruno told Rashford to push further up onto the fullback, Rashford didn’t like it, he was waving his arms at Bruno and eventually sulked his way over to where he was told (and supposed) to go.
“He seems to think he can just do his own thing as and when it suits.”
And another who travels up and down the country to see United was equally critical.
He said: “Everyone near me was just fed up with him… constantly taking way too many touches or doing that thing where he stops the ball dead for a few seconds.”
These two are not United fans who sit at home and ring phone ins but spend their hard earned through thick, and the last decade of thin.
Understandably some will view this as harsh on a player who posted career best figures of 30 goals last season.
FOCUS HAS BEEN LOST
Someone who rightly was awarded an MBE by Prince William for his campaign to feed vulnerable children.
He undoubtedly used the huge amount of free time that footballers have to good effect.
But there is no doubt that his focus has been lost.
He has had more agents and PR people over recent times than probably the rest of the team put together.
One group, who were handling his image have The Chemical Brothers on their CV and there are more. Why?
Roy Keane stayed loyal to one lawyer, Paul Scholes never used anybody preferring football by a pie and a pint back in his local in Oldham.
Whoever has been advising him certainly needed to go after he decided to celebrate his birthday in China White on the evening after United had been thumped 3-0 in the derby by Manchester City last October
“It was just a few friends and family” according to one of his PR lot, who in turn threatened legal action if anyone dare say anything different.
Those who were there suggested it was slightly livelier.
Erik ten Hag certainly wasn’t happy about it
Why does he seem to be upset with everybody? He’s got to go and enjoy it, he’s playing for Man United
The no-nonsense boss said: “I am aware of it. I spoke with him about it. It’s unacceptable. I told him, he apologised and that is it. For us, it’s an internal matter.”
The same boss who left him out the starting line-up four times in December and has hooked him nine times when he has started him.
Rashford looked more than unhappy when he was taken off in the 88th minute of last Sunday’s game against Spurs with the game poised at 2-2.
He has four goals this season and six assists with the halfway mark in the campaign now passed.
Those who watch Rashford in training says he is without doubt the most talented player in the club by far.
He was excellent last season. But United need players who do that then kick on again.
“We need to see more, he’s showed it before, he’s got the quality. Why does he seem to be upset with everybody? He’s got to go and enjoy it, he’s playing for Man United.”
The words of Roy Keane in assessing that defiant celebration after the Spurs game.
Goodness knows what he must be thinking now.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe is bringing a new broom through Old Trafford as he seeks to get the club back on track.
Rashford wants to be very careful he is not swept away.
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