Marcus Rashford has been included in Manchester United’s travelling squad for the first leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Granada, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he will not “overplay” the forward.
The 23-year-old was taken off in the second half of Sunday’s 2-1 comeback win over Brighton after being caught during a tackle.
However, the England international trained on Wednesday and has been named in Solskjaer’s 24-man squad to face Granada on Thursday.
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Speaking at a press conference, United boss Solskjaer said: “Marcus is travelling and we’ve just got to make a decision tomorrow if he starts or is on the bench.
“I don’t think he’ll be a 90-minute man, but we’ll see where we are tomorrow.”
Rashford’s early substitution against Brighton came after he had been withdrawn from the England squad during the international break because of injury.
In his final match for United before joining up with Gareth Southgate’s side – a Europa League clash with AC Milan on March 18 – he was forced off at half-time because of an ongoing foot issue.
After sustaining a serious back injury last season, Rashford has also suffered shoulder and knee problems this term, but Solskjaer insists he will never select a player who is not 100 per cent fit.
“I don’t pick players when I know there’s a risk,” he said.
“Of course, there’s always a risk when you play football, but if the physios say ‘this is too much of a risk’, then I’ll never play a player if we know in advance it’s going to make it worse or be a serious one.
“Marcus joined in training this morning, so let’s see how he reacts. If there’s any risk of making this worse, I’m not going to overplay him.
“His back has recovered, but he’s a tough one and he wants to play. He wants to give his all for Manchester United.
“But it’s also the responsibility of the player to tell us, as he did on Sunday, that ‘it’s too sore and I’ve got to come off’.”
Ole: Martial unlikely to play again this season
Juan Mata returns to the fold as United head to Spain, with 18-year-old Anthony Elanga named in the squad for the first time.
There is no place in the travelling group for defender Eric Bailly – who recently tested positive for coronavirus – or Anthony Martial, with Solskjaer admitting the forward is unlikely to play again this season.
Martial sustained a knee injury while on international duty with France and could now face a race against time to be fit for this summer’s European Championship.
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“Eric is still in Ivory Coast. He needs a negative test before he can come back to England, so we’re still waiting for that one,” Solskjaer said.
“Anthony has started his recovery and if we see him before the end of the season I’ll be very surprised.
“Of course, he’s determined to come back as quick as he can because there are important games for us towards the end of the season and there’s the Euros.
“He’s disappointed he can’t help us now, but of course he wants to work to get back as quickly as possible.”
Henderson or De Gea?
Solskjaer would not say whether Dean Henderson or David de Gea would be in goal in Spain, having kept with the former against Brighton on Sunday.
Henderson has started the past seven matches for United after De Gea was given a month off to be with his wife for the birth of their first child.
“I cannot prioritise league or Europa League – every game here is the most important one,” Solskjaer said. “The next one is the most important one.
“Every time I try to explain to players why they don’t play in this and this particular game and what they need to do and what my plans are with them, all those discussions remain private of course.
“David’s been a top, top keeper and he still is a top, top keeper. He’s working to be ready when he plays.
“If it’s Dean, David, I’m very comfortable with both of them to play and I’m very happy that none of them are happy to not play.”
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