Manchester United: Partial stadium closure; Rashford recall; striker nominated for award
As the Red Devils squeezed past Ukranian outfit Zorya Luhansk with a tight 1-0 victory thanks to a Zlatan Ibrahimovic header last night, the Mirror reported that the top tier of the famous East Stand at Old Trafford was shut due to low demand, meaning that the ground’s capacity was temporarily reduced as a crowd of only 50,000 was expected, way below the stadium’s capacity of almost 76,000.
Fans appear to be voting with their feet as they shun the Europa League in a similar way to Jose Mourinho after the Portuguese boss’ statements about the competition. With a weakened line-up on show, it took Wayne Rooney’s introduction to assist Zlatan to become only the third player to score for seven different clubs in European competition. That Zlatan goal was enough to give United three points and third in their group behind Feyenoord on head to head record and Fenerbahce, who beat the Dutch side last night after drawing with Zorya Luhansk.
It seems that young forward Marcus Rashford is set to earn a recall to the England senior squad, despite struggling for game time under Jose Mourinho. Having been left out of the squad for England under-21s next set of fixtures, it seems that Gareth Southgate will name Rashford in the fold for the senior squad on Sunday as the interim manager recalls the 19-year-old who was dropped by Sam Allardyce, believing that the youngster should not be rushed into the squad.
It is good news for Rashford, who was one of the few bright sparks for England at Euro 2016 and followed that up by scoring a hat-trick on his only appearance with the under-21s. Now, he will be involved as he faces up against Malta and Slovenia in World Cup qualifiers where he could add to his tally of three caps and one goal on the international scene to date as he continues his remarkable rise to fame.
The United youth product has also received another boost as he has been named on a 40-man shortlist for the Golden Boy award which goes to the brightest young emerging talent in Europe. Former winners have included Lionel Messi, and from the Red Devils, Wayne Rooney, Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial in last year’s award and… Anderson. On a club level, it would be an incredible achievement to have five winners to have played for the club, with Rashford the first player to have come through the youth ranks from scratch to the first team if he wins the award which was started in 2003.
Rashford faces stiff competition up against the likes of Bayern Munich’s Euro 2016 winner Renato Sanches, Tottenham’s Dele Alli and city rival Kelechi Iheanacho. It may be unlikely that Rashford will win the award, but he will be one of the names in the mix for the award which is voted for by journalists from across Europe after he broke into the United first team last season under Louis Van Gaal and has kept his place ever since.
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