Erik ten Hag cited an “internal disciplinary” issue after ousting Marcus Rashford from his starting eleven to face Wolves, and Man Utd legends Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand weren’t shy in picking a side when hearing of the news.
Rashford has cut a rejuvenated figure this season for both club and country. Factoring in his three goals for England at the World Cup, the Man Utd forward has operated at a goal every other game this term (13 in 26).
Rashford was on target in both of United’s first two fixtures following the World Cup. He scored just shy of the hour mark against Burnley in the EFL Cup before notching the opener against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday.
As such, it came as something of a shock to see the 25-year-old dropped to the bench for United’s clash with Wolves on Saturday. Taking his role on the left wing was rising youngster, Alejandro Garnacho.
The curious call was quickly addressed during Ten Hag’s pre-match interview with BT Sport’s Lynsey Hypgrave. However, Ten Hag delivered a blunt response when probed for exact information.
“Internal disciplinary”, said the Dutchman when asked about Rashford’s surprise benching. When Hypgrave asked Ten Hag to elaborate, the United boss repeated the same two words.
Former Man Utd stars Scholes and Ferdinand were on hand to deliver their response to the news.
Scholes, Ferdinand love Ten Hag response
Both players – and Scholes in particular – were left impressed by the ballsiness of Ten Hag to drop arguably his most in-form player. In their minds at least, Ten Hag’s willingness to put the greater good of the team above any individual player can only be a good thing.
While the exact nature of Rashford’s alleged disciplinary breach hasn’t yet come to light, Scholes suggested the likeliest reason from his experience is lateness.
“It’s difficult to know the truth really, internal disciplinary, you think lateness,” said Scholes.
“But I love him, the way he’s honest. He’s got the lad in the form of his life who will be a big part today, he’d be coming into this game expecting to score goals and win the game.
“To stand by his guns, we’ll see if it’s a wise decision. I love the way he deals with it.
“Marcus Rashford today would be the first name in the team but he’s obviously done something that’s upset him, the rest of the team. Marcus has paid for it.”
Ferdinand echoed Scholes sentiment, and claimed Ten Hag’s powerplay “can only be positive for this dressing room.”
“You think back to when we played, if the manager showed weakness, it’s like the Cristiano Ronaldo situation, we can all have our opinion but the most important people are those in that changing room,” added Ferdinand.
“If they’re responding to these decisions with respect, step out of line, you’re punished immediately.
“That can only be positive for this dressing room.”