Man Utd: The first six fixtures of the new Premier League season
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Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker has suggested that Marcus Rashford’s reported struggles with a persistent shoulder injury are a ‘load of rubbish’, with the 57-year-old declaring that he will be lucky to start for the club next season after a poor campaign last time around. The England man has played a crucial role for the Red Devils since breaking into the first-team picture in 2016 but has endured a period of muted form since the turn of the year.
Rashford scored just four Premier League goals during the second half of the season, with his lack of tenacity often drawing criticism from supporters and pundits alike.
However, a number of niggling injuries are said to have been chipping away at the 23-year-old for some time, including a troublesome shoulder problem that was picked up against Everton in November.
He has reportedly been playing through the pain ever since and was forced to withdraw from the England squad in March for a trio of World Cup qualifiers with a separate foot issue.
Rashford featured heavily for United last season, starting in all but five of his side’s Premier League matches and making close to 60 appearances in all competitions.
It has been suggested that he may be forced to undergo corrective surgery on his shoulder after the conclusion of Euro 2020 in order to get back to his best, but Parker has dismissed any claims that the versatile forward’s performances have been hindered by injury as of late.
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The former right-back has suggested that United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could well start Mason Greenwood instead of Rashford next season, declaring that the latter has no reason to play while hurt and that he simply had a lacklustre campaign.
“Marcus Rashford was very lucky to start so many games last season, he was really very poor,” Parker exclusively told Express Sport.
“I think there was a little bit of sentiment coming into it that he shouldn’t have been playing. I kept hearing that he’s injured, he’s carrying this injury – a load of rubbish.
“Today’s footballers don’t have to carry any injuries. During my time, yes, because we needed that to make up our wages.
“And we were worried that if we missed a game through injury then somebody else would come in and we wouldn’t get back in if the team did well, but not in today’s world.
“I don’t really want to hear about him carrying injuries. If he was carrying injuries, the player would’ve stopped or the manager wouldn’t play him because the squads are bigger now.
“So he has to prove that he can play regularly for Manchester United because he was poor. Mason Greenwood finished the season brilliantly so he’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t start the season.
“He needs a decent pre-season as such, as he mostly will get now from not going to the Euros.”
Parker was speaking to Express Sport on behalf of Outlaw Pro, who are launching a six-part mini-series called Angling Outlaws in which Parker will join fellow ex-footballers in being trained by multi-world champion anglers on BT Sport next year.
“We’ve got different professional fishermen with all different styles of fishing, taking us and showing us different ways,” he explained.
“I just want to be with a person who’s happy to put a maggot on the hook and when I catch a fish they will hold it for me!”
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