Man Utd legend claims Rashford ‘one of the worst’ off the ball in the Premier League

Will Ford

Manchester United legend Mark Hughes believes Marcus Rashford is “one of the worst” players out of possession in the Premier League.

Rashford came under fire for his display in the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle last weekend and was dropped for the 2-1 win over Chelsea on Wednesday.

The England international scored 30 goals in Erik ten Hag’s debut season but has slumped this term, finding the net just twice in 19 appearances.

And Hughes believes that Rashford needs to improve defensively in Ten Hag’s side, and work as hard as his international teammates do at Manchester City on the wings.

“I don’t think the players go out with the intention of not trying, that doesn’t happen, but I think Rashford has slipped back into the mindset that he had prior to last season – he doesn’t look happy,” Hughes said on the No Tippy Tappy Football podcast.

“He obviously had a lot going on outside the game which maybe took something away from him, and perhaps he just needs to focus back solely on what his role is when he’s asked to put on the shirt for Man United.

“I look at United and think a lot of their problems stem from the wide areas. When the ball goes past them, their response is just not good enough.

“The lads need to track back and if they lose possession, they have to regain it as quick as they can.

“If you compare them to how Man City react when they lose the ball, it’s chalk and cheese. If Phil Foden loses the ball on the right hand-side, he wins it back, same with Jack Grealish.

“Rashford is an outstanding talent and is one of the best in the league when it comes to taking someone on, but without the ball, he’s probably one of the worst. He’s got to sort that part out.”

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Hughes also predicts it will be a “difficult” season for Ten Hag at United due to the dressing room issues, which the Dutchman is currently trying to remedy by getting rid of ‘high-profile’ players in January.

“When Erik ten Hag got the job, there were big issues within the club such as indiscipline and certain individuals were ruling the club,” Hughes said.

“It’s a big contrast to the past when it was run by Sir Alex Ferguson, who was the main man, and everything came from him. He clearly went in and addressed a number of those issues, and I think he’s got credit in the bank because of that.

“It’s not an easy situation to go into. Man United is a huge club and you must have a certain strength of character and presence to be able to walk into the dressing room and address those issues. From the outside it seems as if he was able to do that and the results improved – it was a happier camp.

“This year, for one reason or another, it seems to have just slipped back again and now it is about how he deals with that.

“Do you start saying the same things again that resonated with the players the first time? The players have heard that before, so you need to come up with something different. I think it’ll be difficult for him this year.”