Jamie Carragher says it’s time for Marcus Rashford to step up and almost single-handedly drag Manchester United out of their current rut.
Rashford came under fire for his lifeless display during the Red Devils’ 1-0 defeat at Newcastle on Saturday night, and was subsequently substituted in the 61st minute by Erik ten Hag.
Liverpool icon Carragher made it clear that it wasn’t just Rashford who failed to do the business in Man United‘s last outing, however, as a player from Manchester it’s on him to get the team back on form.
Carragher also suggested watching Rashford was like watching Anthony Martial, who’s not lived up to expectations since bursting onto the scene when signing in 2015.
“Watching Marcus Rashford last night, that was an unacceptable performance for a few reasons,” Carragher told Sky Sports on Sunday.
“It’s not ‘pick on Rashford’. I don’t think anyone anyone comes out with any credit. But that lad didn’t play midweek [against Galatasaray], so if there’s any little mitigating circumstance of a player not being 100 per cent, it’s playing Wednesday night and then Saturday.
“I’ve been a local player and it’s not easy being a local player, especially when your team isn’t doing well.
“Normally for Gary [Neville], Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, they were doing well. But for Marcus Rashford and myself and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool, when it’s not going well, it’s YOUR job to fix it.
“You have got to drag other people with you.
“Because I’m watching Marcus Rashford now and he reminds me of Martial. And that’s the worst thing you can probably say about him – a foreign player who comes in, hasn’t done the business, doesn’t care really. That’s a fact with Martial.
“Marcus Rashford is now looking like Anthony Martial and as a local player it’s your job to drag those other players up.
“And if your confidence is down, and you’re not scoring goals or getting assists, not a problem. You do not stop running for that badge and that shirt and your supporters because you’re supposedly one of them. And what he did last night was nowhere near acceptable.”
Rashford has endured a difficult season so far, the forward scoring just twice in 18 appearances but Man United icon Roy Keane doesn’t believe that any lack of confidence excuses a lack of work rate.
“I go back to the players I played with – wide players who were very, very talented like Giggs and Beckham, Sharpe, Kanchelskis. Let me tell you – they ran. They bloody ran. And they were top players for Man United,” Keane said.
“It’s alright running that way [points forward] but you’ve got to run back.
“Man United fans don’t jump on players’ backs that quickly… are they really frustrated with Marcus Rashford for his lack of skill? Not really. Because they don’t see him running, like Jamie said, playing for the badge.
“He’s had a lot of plaudits over the last few years, he’s got the mega deal, all well and good. And you’re looking at the players, I’m always looking at the players, have they got the hunger, that desire to do well? Marcus isn’t showing it that much.
“When you run forward, no problem, but you bloody run back. You’re playing for Man United, no excuses.
“All we hear our excuses, confidence. Every player can go through a dip in confidence but sometimes you go back and think, ‘how do I fix this?’ You run!”
Ex-Manchester City man Richards suggested that Rashford could be somewhat hindered by his teammates around him, but Carragher said the England international should look to Tottenham captain Heung-min Son for inspiration.
“There must be no more difficult place to go as a long striker than away Man City, you’re not going to get much of a kick,” Carragher added.
“Son did not stop running. Okay, he got his goal… but when you talk about the real great players in this league attacking wise you’ll see Mo Salah and Mane, some of the players Manchester City had… Son today didn’t stop running. That was a leader, that was a captain.
“We’re not asking for the goals and assist for Manchester City, they’ll come. We’ve seen that in the past.
“What we’re asking for is leadership. It doesn’t matter who he’s playing with, those players have got to look up to him and think, ‘he is Manchester United. He’s what embodies this football club.’ And he’s got to drag them up with him.
“Because that football club is an unbelievable football club, and it will get back to the top, that will happen. But it’s Marcus Rashford’s job, more than anybody in that squad, because he’s local, to drag that team with him.”