Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has been told in no uncertain terms that he will not be able to leave the club on loan and will get chances to play this season.
Jose Mourinho's arrival at Old Trafford was always going to be bad news for the club's up and coming starlets but Rashford was one who seemed established enough to avoid the axe.
And, indeed, he has done better than most. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Tyler Blackett, Donald Love and Adnan Januzaj have all left on either a temporary of permanent basis this summer while the 18-year-old has remained part of the senior squad.
However, he has certainly suffered a demotion from the role he enjoyed last season, where for a time he was Louis van Gaal's first-choice striker. He justified that role by scoring eight goals, including two against Arsenal, a stunner against West Ham and a winner against Manchester City.
But now Rashford lives in Zlatan Ibrahimovic's world and in Zlatan's world, Zlatan plays. The Swedish striker has started all three of Manchester United's competitive games thus far, scoring in each of them.
Should the 34-year-old continue to impress up front, Rashford is likely to find playing time hard to come by and he has already been warned by England manager Sam Allardyce that he faces a demotion to the under-21s if the situation does not change.
Big Sam said: “Rashford is not playing. It makes it harder for me now to select him.
“At such a young age, do I say ‘Go play in the Under-21s, get used to international football and it will help you hopefully break into the Manchester United team and then the England senior team’?"
A loan deal would seem ideal but Mourinho has told the zippy teenager that he won't be allowed to leave, instead promising to use him in the cup competitions. Ibrahimovic will not be able to start every game while Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney will also require rest.
Manchester United will compete in the taxing Europa League as well as the EFL and FA Cups, so opportunities will be there, albeit fewer and further between.
A United insider told The Sun: “Marcus Rashford is going nowhere and clubs haven’t chanced their arm as a result.
“Jose has plenty of time for him in training and has already taken him aside and explained he will have his opportunities.
“He will be mainly used in the early rounds of the Cup competitions and when others need a rest. He’s a good kid and isn’t rocking the boat at this stage.”
There will be plenty of positives for Rashford staying at Carrington, especially with Ibrahimovic reportedly giving him one-to-one shooting sessions after training. There are, of course, few better to learn from.
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