Gareth Southgate admitted he thought Marcus Rashford’s tackle against FC Copenhagen was worthy of a red card but his ongoing struggles at Manchester United are “nothing to do with me”.
The 26-year-old was called up to England’s 25-player party on Thursday for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, despite scoring just once in 15 appearances across all competitions this season.
Rashford’s season went from bad to worse on Wednesday when he was shown a straight red card for serious foul play, with his dismissal coming at a time when United were 2-0 up and cruising towards a much-needed Champions League win.
United proceeded to fold in the Danish capital, losing the game 4-3 after conceding late goals to Lukas Lerager and Roony Bardghji, and now face an uphill battle to qualify for the knockout stages after dropping to the foot of Group A.
Quizzed about Rashford’s red card and his difficult season at Manchester United, Southgate told the assembled media that he believed the VAR had come to the correct decision in regards to the tackle, but he refused to be drawn into commenting on his ongoing struggles at Old Trafford.
“He’s unlucky. I think it’s a red card, in the end the action takes him into a player,” Southgate told the assembled media. “But everyone knows he’s trying to protect the ball and get his body across it. It’s just really unfortunate in that respect.
He continued: “He [Rashford] knows we love him. He’s been exceptional in his last three starts with us so we’re really happy with him. He enjoys his football with us so, for me, there’s nothing to discuss.
“What happens at his club is nothing to do with me.”
Southgate was also asked his customary question about Harry Maguire, who has started United’s last six games after falling out of favour under Erik ten Hag. The 30-year-old has impressed on the whole, though he did concede a penalty in midweek for a dubious handball, and England’s boss admitted he was delighted to see his situation improving.
“It’s great,” Southgate remarked. “I thought it might mean this was the first time I wouldn’t get a question about him!
“You want your players to be enjoying their club football and he’s battling for the team. I’m really pleased for him.”
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