Drop Ronaldo And Rashford For Liverpool Tie, Rooney Tells Ten Hag

A file photo combination of Rashford and Ronaldo.

 

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag can boost his hopes of securing his first Premier League point against Liverpool on Monday if he dropped Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford Red Devils legend Wayne Rooney writes in the Sunday Times.

United have opened their campaign with embarrassing defeats, Brighton recording their first ever win at Old Trafford followed by a 4-0 whipping by Brentford last weekend.

It leaves them rooted at the bottom of the Premier League for the first time in 30 years.

United host a Liverpool outfit who are also seeking their first win of the campaign following two draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace.

United and England record goalscorer Rooney says his former side requires players who run their hearts out on the pitch and neither Ronaldo nor Rashford provide that.

Ronaldo in his second spell at United has been rumoured to be seeking a move away from the club as he wants to play Champions League football.

READ ALSO: Mendy Howler Sends Chelsea Crashing To Leeds Defeat

Rashford’s loss of form since playing in the Euro 2020 final last year has seen him lose his place in the England squad and there have been reports of him being linked with French champions Paris Saint-Germain.

“I wouldn’t play Cristiano Ronaldo, and I wouldn’t play Marcus Rashford,” said Rooney.

“If I was in Ten Hag’s position my main concern would be getting energy on the pitch, and United’s failure to recruit a No 9 means they relied on Ronaldo against Brentford, even though he hadn’t trained a lot with the team.

“He looked like he needs time to get match fit.”

‘Night And Day’

Rooney — who is now coaching another of his former clubs DC United in the MLS — said United should let Ronaldo leave, as at 37 he is not a player to build a potential title-winning team around.

“He has also let it be known that he wants to leave the club,” said Rooney.

“I don’t know his reasons but, as I wrote in my last column, I’d let him — he’s a great player and will always score goals but the task for Ten Hag is to produce a team that can compete for the title in three or four years’ time.

“That means rebuilding with younger players.”

Rooney says watching Rashford these days is “a real concern.”

“I think he needs to do a lot of soul-searching and figure out what he wants, for his own good, before anything else,” said Rooney.

“He looks like he wants to be anywhere but on a football pitch. I haven’t seen him smile on the field for a long time.

“He’s a lovely kid and a local lad who came through the ranks at United, who everyone wants to see doing well.

“But you look at the difference between Marcus now and when he first came into the team: the passion he showed, the smile on his face when he scored.

“It’s night and day.”

Rooney wonders whether part of the problem is that Rashford is keen to leave.

“There has been speculation about a move to Paris Saint-Germain, and it could be that he is another, like Cristiano, who wants a change of scene.”

AFP

Europa League: Rashford, Fernandes Give United Commanding Lead Over Granada

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford (R) celebrates with Manchester United’s English striker Mason Greenwood after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League football match between Granada FC and Manchester United at the Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on April 8, 2021. CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

 

Marcus Rashford’s brilliant finish and a Bruno Fernandes penalty handed Manchester United a 2-0 victory over Granada on Thursday, putting them firmly in charge of their Europa League quarter-final first leg. 

Rashford latched onto a long ball from Victor Lindelof in the first half, the striker injecting one bit of quality into a frantic contest at Los Carmenes before Fernandes made it two in the 90th minute after being elbowed by Yan Eteki.

The result gives United a commanding lead heading into the second leg at Old Trafford, where they should finish the job and book their place in the semi-final to face either Ajax or Roma.

Rashford has now scored eight of United’s 23 goals in this competition.

Granada celebrated their 90-year anniversary on Tuesday and arguably have never played a bigger fixture, a club that has never won a major trophy against one that has claimed 20 Premier League titles and three European Cups.


Manchester United’s players celebrate after scoring a goal during the UEFA Europa League football match between Granada FC and Manchester United at the Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on April 8, 2021. CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

 

This is something of a fairytale for the Spanish club that finished 10th in the second division only three years ago before Diego Martinez, arguably La Liga’s brightest up and coming coach, engineered promotion and then qualification for Europe.

READ ALSO: Iheanacho Beats Harry Kane, Others To EPL Player Of The Month Award

Six players in their starting line-up played for Martinez in the second tier and with Los Carmenes empty, Granada even sent all their season ticket holders a personalised ticket as a souvenir to mark the occasion.

For United, the Europa League remains Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s only realistic hope of a trophy and with a place in the top four all-but guaranteed, he can afford to give it his full attention.

Solskjaer fielded a strong line-up, with Rashford handed a start despite coming off against Brighton on Sunday with a knock. David de Gea was picked in goal for the first time since February.

Granada had Roberto Soldado up front, the 35-year-old striker who endured two disappointing seasons with Tottenham in the Premier League but tasted victory against United in his last appearance for them in 2014, when he came off for a young Harry Kane.

Manchester United’s French midfielder Paul Pogba challenges Granada’s Spanish defender Jesus Vallejo (bottom) during the UEFA Europa League football match between Granada FC and Manchester United at the Nuevo Los Carmenes stadium in Granada on April 8, 2021. CRISTINA QUICLER / AFP

 

United had to survive a frantic opening period when neither side really settled but Rashford dropped the first bit of real quality into the match just after half an hour.

Lindelof spotted his run in behind but Rashford still had a lot to do, his outstretched foot cushioning the ball brilliantly into his path and giving him a simple finish past Rui Silva.

Granada responded, a mishit cross hitting the post before Kenedy tested De Gea with a well-struck volley.

But United absorbed the pressure and should have scored a second in the second half when Daniel James burst through down the left and slipped in Fernandes, but he was unable to find the finish from the angle.

Fernandes, though, won the penalty, struck down by the arm of Eteki before getting up to take it, a scuffed shot squirming into the bottom corner to put United in sight of the semis.

AFP

Free School Meals: A Political Football In England

The United forward’s mission is to ensure no child goes to bed without a meal. Photo: [email protected]

 

 

A campaign by Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford to feed England’s poorest children during school holidays has turned into a political football, throwing the spotlight on increased poverty during the coronavirus outbreak.

“This is not politics, this is humanity,” tweeted the 22-year-old after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government voted against a proposal to give free meals to vulnerable youngsters over school holidays this week.

The multi-millionaire footballer previously forced a government U-turn on providing free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays.

The economic fallout from the virus outbreak is pushing more families into poverty, leaving many unable to afford essentials such as food and heating.

In recognition of his widely praised campaign, he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in Queen Elizabeth II’s recent honours list.

But Johnson is not budging this time around, despite the devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales continuing meal provisions to the most needy children during holidays.

On Monday he again pointed out that increased welfare payments to families during the pandemic are helping to feed children when schools are not in session.

Photo: [email protected]

 

“I haven’t spoken to Marcus since June. I think what he is doing is terrific,” he said.

“We don’t want to see children going hungry this winter, Christmas, certainly not as a result of inattention from the government.”

– 1.3 million kids –

Some 1.3 million children in England benefit from free meals at school, according to the latest official data.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders, said schools were doing what they could to feed children during the holidays.

But they were suffering from tight budgets.

“We represent 20,000 school and college leaders around the UK so we hear from them first hand about the impact that food poverty is having on their pupils and there are some really heart-wrenching stories to be honest about the poverty that lots of children are living in at the moment,” she told AFP.

“It may be that the only really nutritious meal that they have during the day is the lunch that they eat at school.”

Some MPs in Johnson’s Conservative party have hit out over the government’s stance, amid a wave of public anger directed at them.

One protest saw empty plates dumped outside a local Tory party headquarters with messages including “Tories for few, not the many” and “lunch is not a luxury”.

But the UK government’s refusal to back down has seen local councils — including one in Johnson’s own constituency –, as well as schools and businesses, step in to provide food this week.

“As a local business, I think we have a responsibility for our community because it’s our community that pays our wages,” said one cafe owner in Sheerness, Kent, who is offering free breakfasts for children over the holiday.

“This is just helping out,” he added.

English football clubs and their fans are meanwhile donating large sums of money to food banks, which have become a daily safety net for struggling families since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.

Rashford meanwhile heads the Child Food Poverty Task Force comprising British food and beverage organisations including Deliveroo and supermarket Waitrose.

– Rising food poverty –

“Marcus Rashford has done a fantastic job in exposing the issues because he has suffered, he has experienced what it’s like as a child to go hungry,” said Andrew Tranter, 76, who runs a food bank in Watford, north of London.

The Trussell Trust, which supports more than 1,200 food banks across the UK including those in Watford, forecasts that 846,000 parcels will need to be provided by its network in the current final quarter — up 61 percent on last year.

Photo: [email protected]

“We’ve seen a very marked increase in the number of people using our facilities, right from the beginning of the lockdown in March,” said one volunteer, Tranter.

Financial donations are being used to pay fuel bills for families whose choice is “heat or eat”.

“We’ve had people who were in very good jobs,” he told AFP while standing next to shelves packed with tinned food, nappies and pasta.

“And when they come to us you can sense the stress and the anxiety because they’ve always been able to provide for their families, they’ve never had to get the begging bowl out.”

AFP

Man Utd Striker Rashford To Receive Honour For Charity Work

File photo: Manchester United’s English striker, Marcus Rashford / AFP

 

Marcus Rashford is to become the youngest person to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Manchester for his work campaigning against child poverty and his sporting achievements.

The 22-year-old Manchester United and England forward will follow in the footsteps of United greats Alex Ferguson and Bobby Charlton in earning the accolade from the university, which is the highest honour it can bestow.

Last month he forced a government U-turn after he wrote an open letter to MPs asking for the reversal of a decision not to award free school meal vouchers to vulnerable children outside term time.

The striker said his family relied on free school meals when he was growing up.

During the coronavirus pandemic he has also teamed up with poverty and food waste charity FareShare to help raise millions to provide meals for vulnerable people.

Rashford said in a statement: “It’s a proud day for myself and my family. When you look at the great names that have been awarded this doctorate in the past, it’s humbling.

“We still have a long way to go in the fight to combat child poverty in this country, but receiving recognition from your city means we are heading in the right direction and that means a lot.”

Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford gestures at the final whistle during the English Leaguse Cup fourth round football match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge in London on October 30, 2019. Glyn KIRK / AFP

 

The university’s president and vice-chancellor Nancy Rothwell said: “Marcus is an extraordinary young man with an extraordinary talent and drive that stretches well beyond the football field.

“His work for charity and his high-profile campaign will not only help countless young people across our own city, but across the entire country.”

The Football Association tweeted offering “huge congratulations” to Rashford, adding it was “deserved recognition for your remarkable efforts”.

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed his player.

“We’re so proud of Marcus,” Solskjaer said. “I’ve said it a few times, but he’s a great person and great human being. He cares about so much more than himself.”

AFP

Solskjaer Praises Campaigning Man Utd Star Rashford

In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP
In this file photo taken on December 01, 2019 Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford applauds supporters on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Aston Villa at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 1, 2019. Oli SCARFF / AFP

 

 Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaped praise on Marcus Rashford for his work to help feed vulnerable families during the coronavirus crisis, saying it was more important than anything he would do on the pitch.

The Manchester United striker has helped raise around £20 million ($25 million) for charity and this week persuaded the British government to provide free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays.

Solskjaer, whose team return to action at Tottenham on Friday, said it had been “fantastic” to follow Rashford during the coronavirus lockdown.

“It’s not only that he got the Prime Minister to change his mind, but also what he’s done over the last few months,” the Norwegian boss said at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“Marcus is such a top, top human being and he’s brought his own experiences as a kid into this conversation and changed the lives of so many kids.”

Solskjaer said Rashford’s work would have a major impact on the lives of deprived children.

“He’s changed the lives of so many kids this summer, which is more important than any game of football that he would probably play,” he said. “Hopefully he can keep both sides going as well as he’s doing now.”

Meanwhile Solskjaer said he also was proud of the way the Premier League was throwing its weight behind the Black Lives Matter movement in the battle against racism.

Players, who are wearing “Black Lives Matter” on their shirts in place of their names, made a powerful gesture of solidarity on Wednesday by taking a knee before kick-off in the first two matches after the restart.

“I think we all know that this shouldn’t happen in 2020,” said Solskjaer.

“What’s been happening and that players, Premier League teams that we all make a stand and say enough is enough, I think that is good. I don’t expect anything different from ours.”

Fifth-placed United will come up against former manager Jose Mourinho in London, with both sides battling for a Champions League spot.

Solskjaer confirmed Rashford and Paul Pogba would be available after lengthy spells on the sidelines.

Odion Ighalo can be called upon for the rest of the season after United agreed a loan extension with Shanghai Shenhua, but talented teenager Angel Gomes’s contract is set to expire at the end of the month.

“He’s a top, top kid that we’ve had in the club for so many years and we’ve offered him a deal,” Solskjaer said of the academy graduate.

“Hopefully he’ll take that. If not, I wish him all the best.”

AFP