Erik ten Hag is confident Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford will be available for Sunday’s Premier League trip to top-four rivals Newcastle, live on Sky Sports.
Rashford missed England’s recent Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine after withdrawing from Gareth Southgate’s squad due to an unspecified knock sustained in United’s FA Cup quarter-final win over Fulham on March 19.
On Monday, United confirmed the 25-year-old had taken part in a “small session” at their training ground, away from the main group of players, and he is now set to feature against the Magpies on Super Sunday.
Sunday 2nd April 4:00pm
Kick off 4:30pm
United manager Ten Hag said: “I’ve good hope. He had to do some treatment and individual training, but on Friday he joined in with the group. We have one more day to go and there’s good hope he’s available. I think so.”
Rashford was enjoying a break in New York when England were winning 2-1 in Italy, leading Gareth Southgate to defend the player’s decision to jet off to the United States.
Ten Hag also backed the move, saying his 27-goal forward deserved to have a “breather” following a gruelling run of fixtures.
“I think it’s positive that he was in a break,” Ten Hag said. “I think Rashford, along with Bruno Fernandes, was playing the most games of the whole squad.
“I think Manchester United is playing the most games all across Europe and our internationals are not mostly on the bench, mostly they are playing.
“So, our players play the most games and this is crazy season, so they also need times that they can have a breather and can collect energy.
“For me, it’s positive that he took that time to turn off from football. I have seen him back this week and he showed a lot of energy and a lot of motivation.
“Training as a whole team was a really good session with a lot of spirit, but especially also with Marcus so I think therefore it was good.”
Ten Hag gave little away regarding contract negotiations with Rashford but was happy to hear left-back Luke Shaw is close to signing a new long-term deal.
“If he signed, I don’t know,” the United boss said with a smile. “I haven’t heard until now.
“John (Murtough, the club’s football director) didn’t inform me until now, so I have to wait for that. If it’s the truth, I would be really pleased.
“Definitely we want to keep him because he’s a really important player for our team.”
Casemiro is suspended and back-up goalkeeper Tom Heaton injured for Sunday’s match at St James’ Park, but Anthony Martial could be back in the squad after a two-month absence due to a hip issue.
“He’s training for two weeks now,” Ten Hag said. “I think he can be in the squad for Sunday.”
Man Utd want to make Rashford one of highest earners
Manchester United’s contract offer to Rashford will reflect his importance by putting him in their highest bracket of earners, with the club and player calm over the situation.
Discussions over a new deal are still in the early phase, with the forward’s current terms due to expire at the end of next season. There has been “transparency, respect, and courtesy” on all sides of the process.
United activated a one-year extension in Rashford’s contract in December and believe the financial package they eventually propose – but more importantly the club’s direction of travel under Ten Hag – will convince him to stay.
The 25-year-old has been the most prolific goalscorer in Europe since the World Cup, with the Dutchman providing the coaching and guidance to help Rashford rediscover his focus and best form.
The England international’s preference is to remain at Old Trafford and lift more silverware with his boyhood club, but there is an understanding this is a significant juncture in his career and there is no need to rush a decision. He has also made it clear his choice will not revolve around money.
Paris Saint-Germain are known admirers of Rashford, with president Nasser Al-Khelaifi previously confirming in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports: “We’re not hiding it, we spoke before and… interest. But the moment was not a good moment for both sides. Maybe summer, why not?”
Rashford’s focus is on finishing the season as strongly as possible, with United still in the mix for FA Cup and Europa League glory, as well as looking to secure a top-four spot.
Watch Newcastle vs Man Utd live on Sky Sports Premier League from 4pm on Super Sunday; kick-off 4.30pm.