Marcus Rashford set to miss out on England recall after Man United injury blow

Muscle problem picked up in win over Arsenal rules attacker out of Europa League match against Sheriff Tiraspol

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Marcus Rashford's hopes of an England recall have taken a blow after the Manchester United striker was ruled out of Thursday's Europa League match against Sheriff Tiraspol.

Rashford has made an impressive start to the Erik ten Hag era at United and scored twice in their 3-1 victory over Premier League table-toppers Arsenal last time out.

He also found the net in the home victory over rivals Liverpool in August and was in line to play for England for the first time since missing his penalty in the shoot-out loss to Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley last summer.

But the 24-year-old picked up a muscle injury in the win against the Gunners and did not travel to Moldova with the rest of the United squad

England manager Gareth Southgate is due to announce his squad on Thursday afternoon for the coming Nations League matches against Italy and Germany.

But even if Rashford misses out what will be the last time Southgate gets to see players up close before the World Cup that starts in November, Ten Hag believes the attacker should be part of the squad going to Qatar.

“That’s quite obvious and quite clear, yes [he should go to the World Cup],” said the Dutch coach. “He played really good seasons and I think in this season he had a great comeback and showed his great potential and quality.

“He’s not available [for Thursday's game], a consequence after Arsenal. He has a muscle injury. I don’t think too long, but I don't know. It’s not really bad, we expect him quite soon to be back in the team.”

Having lost their first group-stage game at home to Real Sociedad, Ten Hag played down the suggestion that the pressure has been cranked up on his team.

“Pressure is for every game, we have to win the game,” he said. “When you lose the first game, you have to win the second, so we know what our task is. We always play a strong team, so also tomorrow we will play a strong team.”

The Moldovans produced one of the all-time great Champions League shocks last season when they defeated Real Madrid – who would go on to become European and Spanish champions by the end of the campaign – in the group stage.

Sherrif had already beaten Shakhtar Donetsk in what had been their first ever appearance in the competition.

And in their opening Europa League match last week, Sherrif comfortably defeated Omonia Nicosi 3-0 in Cyprus.

“It’s quite clear, they beat Real Madrid and Shakhtar, they are capable. We have to make it our game but we are conscious of that fact,” said Ten Hag. “They are a serious and dangerous opponent and we have to play our best for the win.

Veteran attacker Cristiano Ronaldo was back in the starting XI for the Sociedad defeat but when asked by Moldovan media whether the Portuguese would start on Thursday, Ten Hag refused to give anything away. “I'm sorry but the Moldovan fans will have to wait until tomorrow,” said the former Ajax coach.

Meanwhile, United goalkeeper David de Gea insists the Europa League is “a special competition” to play in but admits there is frustration that the club is not player in the top-tier European competition.

De Gea has already won the competition with United – under Jose Mourinho in 2017 – although he missed the decisive penalty in the final against Villarreal two years ago.

“It’s a great competition, of course in my opinion we should be playing Champions League, but this is a competition we have to play for, we will go with everything, I have very good memories of this competition,” said the Spaniard.

“We lost the first one so we have to try to win the game tomorrow against a difficult team. For sure it’s a special competition.”

Updated: September 14, 2022, 6:40 PM