The out-of-form winger failed a late fitness test on Saturday morning (Picture: Getty)
Erik ten Hag says Marcus Rashford failed a late fitness test that prevented him from taking part in Manchester United’s clash with Fulham, though insists he would have picked the winger had he been available.
The 26-year-old travelled with the squad to west London for Saturday’s game but was a surprise absentee from the matchday squad, with many speculating Ten Hag might have been disciplining Rashford for going out celebrating his birthday after last weekend’s 3-0 defeat to Manchester City.
Ten Hag had described his forward’s actions as ‘unacceptable’ in his pre-match press conference, but insists they have drawn a line under the incident and his absence is purely injury related.
Asked why Rashford was not in the squad at Craven Cottage, Ten Hag told TNT Sports: ‘He was travelling with us but he didn’t make it.
‘We tested him this morning but he was not good enough. He’s not fit.’
Asked if he definitely would have picked Rashford but for the injury, he replied: ‘Yes. I think we have to close that case [about the birthday celebrations]. I have said everything about it.’
Rashford did travel with the squad down to London (Picture: Rex/Shutterstock)
Alejandro Garnacho – who scored the winner at Craven Cottage last season deep into stoppage time – has replaced the England international in the starting XI.
United legend Rio Ferdinand had heard rumblings that Rashford would miss the match against Fulham after picking up a dead leg in training on Friday but, despite Ten Hag’s comments, feels the Dutchman might have dropped him regardless.
Reacting to Rashford’s absence, Ferdinand said: ‘He’s travelled down, from what I gauge.
‘He’s had a medical test this morning and he’s failed it with a heavy knock to his leg, a dead leg. We’re told it happened in the last training session before today.
‘We were all primed up for a disciplinary decision to be made, but that’s taken out of the manager’s hands now with an injury to Marcus Rashford.’
Rashford, who was his side’s top scorer last season, has struggled for form recently and has only netted once in 14 appearances in all competitions.
Victory for United in Saturday’s early kick-off against Fulham could see the side rise up to sixth place in the Premier League table despite their difficulties. Defeat would see the Cottagers leapfrog them.
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The out-of-form winger did travel with the squad to west London.