Anthony Martial has refuted Ralf Rangnick’s claim that the forward refused to play for Manchester United.
Rangnick said Martial “didn’t want to be in the squad” after United only named eight substitutes with two goalkeepers among them for the 2-2 draw at Aston Villa on Saturday,
Martial wants to leave United this month and has not featured since a 3-2 win over Arsenal on December 2, but the 26-year-old insisted he was available for selection.
“I will never refuse to play a match for Man United,” Martial said on Instagram.
“I’ve been here for seven years and I never disrespected and I never will disrespect the club and the fans.”
Martial is hoping to leave on loan this month to get regular first-team football.
Sevilla remain his preferred destination because he believes that is where he will play the most, amid interest from other clubs including Barcelona and Juventus.
But Sevilla have so far only offered to pay half of Martial’s wages.
It is understood United would be encouraged to let him go on loan if a club offers to pay them in full plus a loan fee.
Sancho ‘a shadow’ of former self | ‘Rashford looks lost’
Sky Sports pundits Roy Keane and Jamie Redknapp discussed the alarming form of two of United’s first-choice forwards Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho.
Sancho is a “shadow” of his former self and has a challenge to ignite his United career, says Redknapp, while Keane is worried for a seemingly “lost” Rashford and wants the club to get to the bottom of his dramatic loss of form.
Anthony Elanga was selected ahead of Sancho, who cost United £73m in the summer but only has one Premier League goal to his name this season.
Elanga looked full of intent and energy on the left flank and United missed his influence when he was replaced by Sancho with 12 minutes to play as Ralf Rangnick’s side allowed a two-goal lead to slip.
Rangnick said Elanga “showed what I expected of him and why I decided to play him from the start” when asked whether the young Swedish star is now ahead of Sancho in the pecking order but added: “We’ve got so many games to play, I’m not thinking who is ahead of who.”
However, Redknapp feels Sancho now has a very difficult task of convincing the manager to pick him in front of Elanga.
“Sancho has a massive challenge on,” Redknapp said.
“He made an impact today when he came onto the pitch. When you come on, you hope to make a bit of magic but in this case, he’s come on and the team has drawn 2-2 when he’s supposed to be the player to help the team.
“He’s low on confidence. I’m watching him play and he’s a shadow of the player we saw in the Bundesliga. He’s good in close areas but my biggest worry is that he doesn’t have the pace to run past people.
“That’s why Elanga played today. In the first few minutes, United played a ball down the line and he chased it. Sancho doesn’t do that. That’s a real worry for him. It’s a big challenge for him. He’s got to say he’s up for the challenge and play, train and live right and maybe he can get back in the team.
“It’s a huge challenge for him and Marcus Rashford.”
Rashford was missing through an unspecified injury in the 2-2 draw but his form has been in the spotlight in recent weeks. The England star, who has managed just three goals for his club this season, failed to make an impact in the FA Cup third-round tie at Old Trafford against Villa before being taken off with less than five minutes left. It was the latest in a list of underwhelming performances from the 24-year-old striker.
The situation surrounding Rashford was picked up on by Keane, who has called for the club to make sure the player has the right environment to help him through this tough period of his career.
He said: “What has happened to Rashford? Manchester United need to get to the bottom of it.
“That’s their responsibility when they are working with young players. Rashford has done amazing things over the past few years, on and off the pitch, but clearly something is amiss.
“I watched him on Monday and the lights were on but nobody was home. The kid looks lost. Is it just confidence? There might be something going on off the field. The club and the senior players have to help him and the younger players. There is plenty amiss at United and that needs to be fixed.
“Are the likes of Sancho, Rashford and Greenwood looking at the senior players who should be setting an example. Maybe all of them aren’t? Maybe the young players aren’t that quick to do a bit of extra training afterwards. These are all the finer details for young players to improve on.
“If the culture isn’t right at the club, in terms of the pace of the training, the tempo or the attitude, then you’re going to notice it. There is something missing at United. There are too many loose ends.”