Manchester United implosion is devastating for Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Mason Greenwood


To observe the implosion at Manchester United this season, one would think that there are only two factions in a divided dressing room: the players who want to leave Old Trafford and an equally disgruntled squad who want the opportunity to play. .

There is another element, of course. One that has been largely forgotten amid all the negative talk about cliques, bickering and bad body language.

It is the players who remain attached to the club and respectful of the manager who try to do their jobs in the toxic context of the turmoil in the locker room.

These are pivotal years in the development of Marcus Rashford (right) and Jadon Sancho (left), but their potential is being stifled by an oppressive environment

Mason Greenwood is so promising but must be affected by a negative environment

Mason Greenwood is so promising but must be affected by a negative environment

There's more to this than Greenwood's apparent lack of chemistry with Cristiano Ronaldo

There’s more to this than Greenwood’s apparent lack of chemistry with Cristiano Ronaldo

It cannot be easy. Morale at United has fallen so low that comparisons are made with the acrimonious last months of Jose Mourinho in charge. The players are only humans and they are affected by a negative work environment, especially the younger ones.

When senior stars get agitated for a move or complain about a lack of playing time, it rubs off on the rest of the squad and an obvious lack of leadership does little to help the situation.

Even the most exciting young players seem to be struggling at United right now. World Cup prospects Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Jadon Sancho, three of England’s brightest prospects, are set to rise high in their careers.

Instead, they look like they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders in a club whose wings have been cut off – and not just metaphorically. After putting together a squad filled with wide natural men, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer limited his opportunities playing Paul Pogba on the left flank long before the arrival of Ralf Rangnick with his tighter 4-2-2-2 formation.

Sancho cost £ 73million after an 18-month lawsuit, but you can’t help but wonder if it was worth it or the expense when you watch the ex-Borussia Dortmund winger play in United’s red.

United's English talents lack a stable environment in which to thrive and develop

United’s English talents lack a stable environment in which to thrive and develop

He had a rough start to life at Old Trafford, there is no doubt about it. He lost his confidence and his place in the England team.

It sometimes didn’t help playing on the left wing rather than the right for his club, but you can’t underestimate the impact on a 21-year-old getting into a dressing room gone bad. .

Greenwood has also disappeared from England’s image for the time being. He started the season with one goal in each of his first three games for United after missing Euro 2020, but has only scored twice in 17 appearances since then.

A Covid fight in November meant Greenwood was on the bench when Rangnick first arrived. He has started the last three games but has each been substituted.

The 20-year-old was hooked at halftime against Newcastle and Rangnick’s decision to pull him out after an hour of Monday’s loss to Wolves was greeted with a chorus of boos around Old Trafford.

Questions have been asked about the chemistry – or lack thereof – between Greenwood and Cristiano Ronaldo, but it goes deeper than that.

Ralf Rangnick needs to fix the poisonous air around the locker room that brings down players

Ralf Rangnick needs to fix the poisonous air around the locker room that brings down players

Playing Paul Pogba on the left for a while deprived more natural wingers of the chance to impress

Playing Paul Pogba on the left for a while deprived more natural wingers of the chance to impress

It has been a traumatic season at United. There have been three managers so far and some upheaval in the locker room, and we’re only at the halfway point.

You’re not playing in a 5-0 draw with Liverpool (Greenwood was again knocked out at half-time with United at four goals) and a 2-0 loss to Manchester City two weeks later (he was out after 67 minutes) without wearing a few scars.

And what about Rashford? At 24, he’s a bit older than Sancho and Greenwood, but a young man nonetheless.

Rashford returned from shoulder surgery just as United’s season plunged into crisis with a 4-2 loss to Leicester in October and Solskjaer was approaching those critical moments against Liverpool and City.

He scored three goals in his first four games but, like Greenwood, has struggled since.

The England man has not played for his country since missing a penalty shootout in the Euro 2020 final and suffered racist abuse as a result.

Rashford and Co's body language has recently drawn criticism from some experts

Rashford and Co’s body language has recently drawn criticism from some experts

Experts noticed his negative body language. Rio Ferdinand has drawn attention to this and Gabby Agbonlahor has publicly told United No.10 to stop sulking. Elsewhere, there have been the usual uninformed whispers about Rashford’s charitable work affecting his football.

It is clear that the player lacks self-confidence at the moment, but he also seems to be paying the price for a lack of self-confidence among United coaches over the past two seasons.

It doesn’t help that Rashford’s ability – and willingness – to play a number of different positions to help the team have worked against him.

The left winger is obviously his best position, but he has often been forced to line up to accommodate other players. This season alone he has played alongside Ronaldo up, middle, left, right, left-back and right-back.

Sancho watched the shadow of the player who played so well at Borussia Dortmund

Sancho watched the shadow of the player who played so well at Borussia Dortmund

Fans want to see Greenwood supported rather than transported as a scapegoat to Old Trafford

Fans want to see Greenwood supported rather than transported as a scapegoat to Old Trafford

Rashford reportedly went through three workouts to get back to work as soon as possible after his surgery, but returned to find a toxic locker room and a manager on his way to sacking.

At a time when he needed support on and off the pitch, there seems to have been a stand-alone attitude at United.

It’s a mess that needs to be cleared up. The club need to get rid of the malcontents and deadwood so that young players like Rashford, Greenwood and Sancho can make the most of their careers without the stifling United environment at the moment.

There will always be pressure associated with playing for this club, but the atmosphere has been described as “oppressive”. The sooner it is fixed, the better.

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