Jamie Carragher has had a lot to say about Marcus Rashford recently, hasn’t he?
During the international break, the Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender spoke passionately about the Man United youngster’s ‘lack of’ opportunities as a striker at Old Trafford at the moment, following his match-winning performance against Switzerland last week.
In fact, the 20-year-old started and scored in both of the Three Lions’ games during the break – also netting in the 2-1 defeat to Spain at Wembley – and played in a more of a forward role, rather than as a winger like he does with his club.
Speaking back then, Carragher said he believed Rashford may need to leave United if he wants to develop and become a world-class centre-forward.
And apparently, this rubbed Mourinho up the wrong way.
In a follow-up press conference, the United boss produced a pre-prepared list of statistics to defend his use of Rashford, claiming that he’s played significantly more than other youngsters at rival clubs.
He specifically name-dropped the likes of Dominic Solanke, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, and compared their run-outs to Rashford’s game-time at United.
But Carragher has defended his comments on this evening’s Monday Night Football coverage, pointing out how Romelu Lukaku has been Mourinho’s first-choice striker since joining the club last summer, with Rashford’s opportunities largely being on the wing.
The addition of Alexis Sanchez in January has only harmed his place in the pecking order further, with Anthony Martial also competing.
In fact, Carragher compared Rashford’s place in the United’s line-up to that of Danny Welbeck.
Welbs was once United’s Golden Boy – much like Rashford is now – but was slung out onto the wing in his final few seasons at the club, before being sold to Arsenal by Lous van Gaal in 2014.
Carragher said: “He came through at United as a centre-forward, then he was used on the left and the right, but then he ends up becoming a squad player.
“He moves to Arsenal, exactly the same thing happens. That’s what you don’t want.”
It’s probably true that Welbeck was a bit of a disappointment at Old Trafford and has struggled to fulfil his potential since moving to Arsenal.
Once considered the natural strike-partner to Wayne Rooney for both club and country, he’s now seen as simply a hard-working winger who’s happy to wait on the bench for an opportunity to play.
Recurring injuries and competition for places at the Gunners has meant he’s rarely been prolific, with his best scoring-tally at the Emirates coming last season when he netted 10-times in all competitions – including five in the Premier League.
So, does Welbeck’s stuttering career serve as a warning to Rashford’s position at United?
Whatever happens, the war of words between Mourinho and Carragher certainly isn’t over yet, we fear.
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