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Rangnick put straight by Man Utd outcast as January transfer headache lingers over FA Cup clash

Ralf Rangnick, Marcus Rashford, Anthony Elanga and Jesse Lingard during a Manchester United substitution

Ralf Rangnick has been put straight by Jesse Lingard as his January transfer headache lingers over Manchester United’s FA Cup clash.

Lingard, who was the focus of attention from both West Ham and Newcastle last month, will not feature in the first game back following a winter break. Earlier on Thursday Rangnick confirmed his absence from the squad to face Middlesbrough on Friday evening.

The German coach said: “Jesse asked if we could give him a couple of days off to clear his mind. He will be back in training on Monday and part of the whole squad.”

However, the attacker has since spoken out on social media, claiming it was the club who had suggested he took time off.

He tweeted: “The club advised me to have time off due to personal reasons!

“But my headspace is clear and I’ll always be professional when called upon and give 100 percent.”

Lingard travelled to Dubai during the Premier League’s hiatus last week. He was spotted there with team-mate Marcus Rashford.

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United’s squad returned to Manchester this week as they began preparing for their fourth-round clash with Championship opposition at Old Trafford.

During that time Lingard’s future remained up in the air. Newcastle wanted to take him on loan, but the Red Devils’ demands were too high.

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Lingard transfer saga explained

Rangnick, who reportedly gave the England man the all clear to go, also spoke about what happened in his pre-match conference.

“Three weeks ago, Jesse didn’t want to leave, then he changed his mind,” he added.

“I had a chat with him 10 days ago. And I could fully understand why he wanted to leave. To get game time for his future and the World Cup.

“I told him if he finds a club and the club find a solution with our club, I would allow him to leave. Then with all the developments, things changed.

“We also had no agreement with any other club. So we had to take a final decision as the board and keep Jesse until the end of the season.”

Rangnick faces further issue

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Meanwhile, another United January transfer decision has come into focus after loanee Axel Tuanzebe was omitted from Napoli’s Europa League squad.

Tuanzebe recently joined the Italian side after his third loan spell at Aston Villa ended abruptly. Following the appointment of Steven Gerrard mid-season, the defender did not get the same gametime he enjoyed previously under Dean Smith.

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Napoli managed to lure him abroad for the first time in his career. They signed him on a dry loan until the end of the season.

But as per Gazzetta Dello Sport, the Serie A club have not included their new boy on their squad list for the knockout phase of the Europa League.

They will face Barcelona this month in a two-legged tie in the play-off round for a place in the quarter-finals. But Tuanzebe will not be involved due to technical reasons.

His absence could have been because of back issues that have been troubling him recently. But that is not the whole story.

In fact, Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti has given his approval to the decision to leave Tuanzebe out. He feels there are better suited options at both centre and right-back.

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