Marcus Rashford might be left out of the Manchester United lineup for the Europa League final, according to Gary Neville.
Having wrapped up second place in the Premier League, United’s attention is turning to their European final. They will face Unai Emery’s Villarreal next Wednesday to try and lift the continent’s secondary trophy. It would mark a first piece of silverware under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but it will be a tough challenge.
Solskjaer will have some big decisions to make when choosing his starting lineup for the game. He has admitted that he will have to disappoint some of his players.
One of those who could miss out, according to Neville, is Rashford. The Sky Sports pundit pointed to the balance of the team depending on where the forward plays and fears it might mean he has to sit this one out.
Referring to the United lineup that took to the field against Fulham on Tuesday, Neville said: “I wonder whether this could actually be Man Utd’s Europa League final team. It wouldn’t surprise me.
“Rashford on the right doesn’t work and I think [Paul] Pogba will play. I think [Edinson] Cavani will play up top, I think the midfield three is set.
“And I wonder if Solskjaer has decided that [Axel] Tuanzebe will play in that Harry Maguire position.
“I’m nervous about Rashford being left out but I think [Mason] Greenwood is better there than Rashford. The balance is better.
“And I think [David] De Gea will start in goal. You think about the service he’s given to the club.”
Rashford has only started four Europa League games since United dropped into this season’s competition. Greenwood, on the other hand, has started seven.
Pogba has flourished in a more advanced role in recent rounds and Cavani is their joint-top scorer along with Bruno Fernandes in the competition this season.
Only Fernandes has outscored Rashford in all competitions for United in 2020-21. However, the England forward might miss out due to Solskjaer’s system.
Solskjaer suggests surprise starters
Despite Neville’s claims, Solskjaer admitted before the Fulham match that places in the Europa League final lineup were still up for grabs.
“These last two games are a chance for everyone if there’s any doubt in my head,” the manager said.
“I think everyone knows I feel I’ve got quite good competition in most areas so I don’t think going into these last two games saving your energy for the final, no.
“You need to show against Fulham that I’m ready to do my bit for the team. Maybe the Fulham team will be the final team, maybe not.
“I’m hoping to get Anthony [Martial] and Dan [James] back involved in this game which is a very good boost for us, and maybe they can even start against Wolves and then maybe they’re sensational?
“It’s hard to leave players out if they really perform at their highest level.”
In the end, neither Martial nor James made it back in time for the midweek game. But there is still just about enough time before the final for them to work their way back into contention.
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