Marcus Rashford makes Man Utd promise after refusing to watch Man City trophy lift

City’s England stars were still in celebratory mood as they arrived at St George’s Park on Tuesday night and are not expected to play in Friday night’s game in Malta. But Rashford freely admits he could not bring himself to share their moment of glory in Istanbul after beating Inter Milan.

“I like watching the best games and that is what I did on Saturday,” Rashford said. “But after they win the game I don’t need to watch them celebrating - all that stuff. So TV off! It is congratulations to them and for me they deserved it, they played the best football this year.

“There is not much more to say. But finishing above them was always the aim regardless of their success this year or the previous years. They are a very good team and it is not just us that are trying to catch up to them, it is pretty much every team as well.

“Is it a challenge? Yeah but we can’t shy away from it, we have to face it and do our best next season.” Erik ten Hag has “relit the flame” for Rashford at United. So much so that the 24-year-old is full of energy and ready to face Malta in what would be his first England qualifier since 2019.

As what Rashford describes as a “mad” season finally draws to a close, he insists that he is fitter than ever thanks to his new Dutch boss. “He managed to motivate me and just relight the flame that was missing,” the striker said. “He came in and he wanted to win.

“I feel at times we have lacked that ambition as I’ve said before but he wasn’t caring about getting into the top four or doing any of that. He just wanted to win trophies. When you strive for the best, sometimes you are going to fall short as we did in areas this season.

“But you have to look at the outcome. We managed to win a trophy and get back in the Champions League spots, get to another final and it is definitely a progression from the previous year or a couple of years before.” His personal haul of 30 goals certainly speaks volumes and Rashford played in 56 of United’s 62 games to get them.

Thankfully for club rather than country his injuries always seem to coincide with international qualifiers, with Rashford sitting out 12 of them since he last played against Kosovo in November 2019. In March, Rashford declared himself unavailable for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine only to be spotted sunning himself in New York during the international break before returning to Carrington for treatment.

Seeing Rashford enjoying himself in the Big Apple raised concerns that a lack of international commitment might be at the core. “I need time to switch off and recover so I took a short trip for four days and then went back to do my rehab and try to get ready as soon as possible,” he explained.

“These injuries... you can’t predict when they are going to happen. Thankfully I have v few muscle strains but occasionally you do get impact injuries. So honestly the criticism doesn’t bother me. I know I am committed 100 percent so people are going to say what they want to say.”

His absence in March means it is the first time to ask Rashford about how it felt to be given such little action in the knockout stages of the World Cup when in such good form. “Everyone is a bit frustrated when they are not playing but at the same time you are part of a squad and I am never going to be that person who disrupts a team especially when preparing for a massive game,” Rashford said.

Rashford had scored twice against Wales in the final group game, making it 11 in his last 14 England starts. With just two from his last 20 substitute appearances, it is hard to see why, when he is fit, Gareth Southgate does not start with him more.

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