'Marcus Rashford is forcing Ralf Rangnick to make a difficult decision at Man Utd'

By Andy Dunn

When Marcus Rashford was put out of his misery late in proceedings, a few home supporters made a point of standing up and applauding vigorously.

It was not in appreciation of Rashford's performance but it was more in encouragement.

Keep your head up, Marcus, that sort of thing.

Right now, he is struggling to do that. Rashford was part of a Manchester United side that overcame decent opponents to get to the fourth round of the FA Cup but he had another forgettable match.

The absence of Cristiano Ronaldo actually left United's attacking fluency relatively unaffected.

And when Rashford was not passing to Aston Villa players - or hitting a truly dreadful free-kick into the wall - he actually looked a bit of an early threat, cutting in from the left.

Have Your Say! Where are things going wrong for Rashford this season? Join the debate here.

(AFP via Getty Images)

Read more : Marcus Rashford rekindles romance with childhood sweetheart months after split

Read more : Rangnick's touchline reaction speaks volumes as Man Utd stars 'split into two camps'

There was the odd sign that a smidgeon of confidence might be returning to his game and he was part of an attacking formation that looked well-balanced.

But with pretty much everything he tried not coming off, any signs of self-belief soon disappeared.

And while that sprinkling of fans tried to lift his spirits when he was finally substituted, patience with Rashford during this alarming rut of poor form is beginning to wear a little thin in these parts.

It did not help that he appeared not to be too bothered about going for a loose ball when Emiliano Martinez coughed up a Mason Greenwood shot.

It was not a good look but Rashford is clearly preoccupied with doubts about his recent contributions.

You could not seriously accuse him of not trying in this narrow, slightly fortunate United win, but as Alan Shearer said on television, it all looks like a tough chore for him.

Class is permanent, and all that, and he will get back to his sparkling best, but Rashford knows he is in a real trough right now.

He needs all the encouragement he can get… or he needs to be left out.

What is inkl?

Important stories

See news based on value, not advertising potential. Get the latest news from around the world.

Trusted newsrooms

We bring you reliable news from the world’s most experienced journalists in the most trusted newsrooms.

Ad-free reading

Read without interruptions, distractions or intrusions of privacy.