Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes that a switch has been flipped for Marcus Rashford following the controversy over his night out in Belfast. According to the former Manchester United manager, Erik ten Hag cannot possibly be held responsible for the behavior of the 26-year-old left winger.
The incident involving Marcus Rashford's unauthorized nights out in Belfast and the subsequent reaction from Manchester United and its management has stirred significant attention.
Rashford, who called in sick on the morning of Friday, January 26, was later found to have been out on both the preceding Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Erik ten Hag, the current Manchester United manager, chose not to address the situation publicly, labeling it an "internal issue." Nevertheless, the club issued a statement indicating that measures had been taken in response to the behavior of the English international, noting that Rashford had acknowledged his actions. As a result, Rashford was sidelined for the FA Cup match against Newport County on January 28 but was reintegrated into the team for the game against Wolverhampton Wanderers later that week.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who managed Manchester United and Rashford for three years, provided his insights to Reuters, emphasizing his deep understanding of Rashford's character and potential. Solskjaer refrained from criticizing Rashford directly but highlighted the forward's exceptional performance in the previous season and the importance of consistency in football. Acknowledging the underperformance of Rashford and other players this season, Solskjaer expressed his hope that this incident would serve as a pivotal moment for Rashford, potentially galvanizing him to reach greater heights.
Solskjaer also addressed the debate over whether the responsibility for a player's conduct and performance rests with the manager or the player himself. He argued that while the manager plays a role in discipline and motivation, the ultimate responsibility lies with the player to maximize their own potential. Solskjaer's tenure as manager, from late December 2018 to November 2021, was marked by his efforts to instill discipline and extract the best from his players, making his perspective particularly relevant.
This situation sheds light on the challenges faced by football clubs in managing player behavior off the pitch, the implications of such incidents for team dynamics and discipline, and the ongoing debate regarding the allocation of responsibility between players and their managers. The incident with Rashford, a key figure at Manchester United, underscores the complex interplay between personal responsibility, professional expectations, and the role of management in navigating these challenges.