Tuesday 21 January 2020

United should swoop for striker amidst injury crisis

It never rains but it pours. Already hit by the twin injury blows of Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba, United were hit by the news that Marcus Rashford faces up to six weeks out.
Our talismanic figurehead and top scorer will be sidelined until April with a stress fracture in his back that he sustained against Wolves in the FA Cup.
It's clear that he's been carrying an injury for a while now and has been overplayed, but a small squad and his importance to us has meant that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had to play him.

I saw Solskjaer coming in for criticism for risking Rashford in the replayed tie, but he'd have been in the firing line if he HADN'T played him and we'd got knocked out. We needed a goal in a tight game so it made sense to put him on. Injuries happen and you can't legislate when something like this happens.

United's owners, the dreadful, dollar-obsessed Glazers, need to look at themselves. Its their failure to deepen a wafer-thin squad and our addiction to one man - Rashford - that epitomises our abhorrent recruitment policy.

A player knowingly playing with a problem, Rashford willingly tore into December. On the first of the month, he played against Aston Villa. Three days later, he completed another full 90 against Spurs. Another few days further on, he played in the win over City, and on and on he went. Given a brief respite from the sanctuary of the bench for the AZ Alkmaar game, he continued to feature against Everton (90 minutes), Colchester three days later (62 minutes), 90 minutes in the pre-Christmas defeat to Watford, 66 minutes on Boxing Day vs Newcastle, and a draining full match against Burnley 48 hours later. Evidently feeling pain, Rashford continued to ply his trade during United's frantic festive schedule. Eight games in 23 days, 11 hours and five minutes out of a possible 13 1/2 hours. To January, and he featured against Arsenal, as a sub against Wolves, 90 minutes in the League Cup semi final with City and his 200th appearance for the club vs Norwich. Solskjaer had a chance to rest him for the Colchester cup tie but it shows how indispensable Rashford has become that he chose to use him against the fourth tier side. He'd played continuously non stop for three successive seasons, along with England friendlies and two major tournaments - World Cup and Euros. All while having a stress fracture in his back and a floating bone in his ankle. Inevitably, he broke. If anyone worked non stop as much as Rashford has, they would be broken and run into the ground too.

It leaves 18-year-old Mason Greenwood as our only out and out striker. Greenwood is only a baby and is at risk of burnout if he comes into the team week in week out to replace Rashford.

 Anthony Martial isn't a natural number nine and he too has played a lot of football. With the January transfer window still open, the Reds should get a striker in - even if only on loan - until the end of the season. PSG wantaway Edinson Cavani would be my choice. Although he's 33, he's proven, he's experienced, he knows where the net is and, importantly for the powers that be, he'd be cheap.

The Uruguay international clearly wants to leave. Its a no brainer surely? Not only would it alleviate pressure on Greenwood and Tony M, but the young players would learn from him and it would take us through to the end of the season with a reputable out and out hitman whilst Rashford recovers.

Your move, Ed Woodward...

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