Erik ten Hag is hopeful of having top scorer Marcus Rashford available for Sunday’s trip to Newcastle.
Rashford withdrew from the England squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine after picking up a foot injury in Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Fulham.
The 25-year-old made good use of his two-week break by flying to New York for a period of downtime ahead of the final stages of the season.
Ten Hag remains optimistic he will have the club’s top scorer at his disposal for the crunch clash at St James’ Park.
“I’ve good hope,” said the United boss. “He trained but he had to do some treatment, he had to do some individual training, today he joined in with the group. We have one more day. I have a good hope he will be available.”
Rashford’s trip to New York raised questions from some who suggested his decision to head to the Big Apple rather than recuperate in Manchester, could fracture his relationship with England boss Gareth Southgate.
But Ten Hag rallied behind his top scorer who was granted permission to take a break away, insisting time out from football will be a positive for him ahead of the run-in.
Ten Hag added: “I think it’s positive that he was in a break. I think Rashford, I think with Bruno, he was playing the most games of the whole squad and I think with Manchester United playing the most games across Europe and especially the internationals, our internationals are not mostly on the bench, mostly they are playing.
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“Our players are playing the most games in this crazy season. They need a breather to collect energy.
“For me, it’s positive he took that time to turn off from football. I have seen him back this week and he has shown a lot of energy, a lot of motivation, it was a good spirit and a lot of focus.
“Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Bruno, Casemiro, they are starters for their nations. I want to emphasise they have the most games across the season so far. We played an extra round in the Europa League.”
Meanwhile, Ten Hag refused to be drawn on contract negotiations with Rashford, claiming both he and the forward are focused on winning games.
Rashford has been in blistering form for the Red Devils, netting 27 times this season. His contract is set to expire in June 2024 with Paris Saint-Germain interested in luring him to the Parc des Princes.
“We never [give an update],” Ten Hag told reporters when quizzed on developments over the forward’s future. “It’s an internal process. We focus on winning games, of course also planning for the future. So in the back(ground) we’re working on that. It’s about agents, it’s about football director John Murtough. Rashy and I are focusing on performing.”
Showdown Saturday on NaijaOnPoint
On Saturday 1 April, it’s all kicking off on NaijaOnPoint.
12:30pm: Starting the day, Man City host Liverpool in a key Premier League game.
3pm: Crystal Palace vs Leicester sees the return of Roy Hodgson to the Selhurst Park dugout.
7pm: Build-up begins for the heavyweight showdown between Anthony Joshua and Jermaine Franklin as AJ starts his route back to the top.
What. A. Day.
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