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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Why isn’t Marcus Rashford playing for Manchester United?

Erik ten Hag’s side need a result against Galatasaray to keep their Champions League dreams alive, but are without a number of key players.

Update:
Marcus Rashford absent for Manchester United
PAUL ELLISAFP

Manchester United are without 2022/23 top goalscorer Marcus Rashford for their crucial Champions League fixture against Galatasaray.

Defeat against the Turkish giants will confirm United’s exit from the Champions League and make Europa League qualification unlikely.

Their most recent European fixture was a chastening 4-3 defeat to Copenhagen in which the Danish side fought back from 2-0 down. The comeback was sparked by the first half dismissal of Marcus Rashford, who was adjudged to have stamped on a Copenhagen player in the penalty box.

Marcus Rashford misses Galatasaray clash after picking up red card suspension.
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Marcus Rashford misses Galatasaray clash after picking up red card suspension.JONATHAN NACKSTRANDAFP

Rashford was hit with a one-match suspension in the Champions League. He will be eligible to return for their final group stage fixture against Bayern Munich next week.

Manchester United injury list causes headaches

United are one of the Premier League’s most in-form sides, winning five of their last six fixtures. However their European results have been disappointing and Erik ten Hag has suffered a series of injury absences.

Casemiro, Christian Eriksen, Jonny Evans, Lisandro Martinez and Mason Mount are all out injured for Wednesday’s game. Midfielder Jadon Sancho is not in contention due to his very public falling out with Ten Hag. Donny van de Beek is not registered for the Champions League and so cannot feature.

There is some good news for Ten Hag in that Rasmus Hojlund and Antony are both back in the squad after missing last weekend’s win over Everton.

Read more on the Champions League...

Is Kobbie Mainoo playing for Manchester United?

The victory over Everton moved United up to sixth in the Premier League and pushed young midfielder Kobbie Mainoo in first team contention. The 18-year-old impressed for United during their pre-season tour of the United States but he picked up an injury before the start of the 2023/24 season.

Mainoo recently returned to first team straining and made his Premier League debut against Everton last weekend. He impressed at Goodison Park and former United captain Roy Keane described his performance as “outstanding” on the UK television coverage.

However Ten Hag opted not to start Mainoo in Wednesday’s Champions League tie. The United boss has selected a midfield pairing of Sofyan Amrabat and Scott McTominay, with Bruno Fernandes further forward.

Ahead of the Copenhagen game Ten Hag had said that he has no concerns about playing Mainoo in high-pressure fixtures.

If players are good enough, then they are old enough,” Ten Hag told reporters. “We are very pleased with the performance, but it is one performance. You have to do it on a consistent basis.”

“Kobbie is so mature, he knows that. We are confident he will do it, but first you have to prove it, as we all have to prove. You are only as good as your last game.”

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