Ten Hag expects Rashford to be fit for Man United's Newcastle trip
Manchester United's head coach Erik ten Hag congratulates with Marcus Rashford as he leaves the pitch during the English Premier League soccer match between Leeds United and Manchester United at Elland Road, Leeds, England, Sunday, February 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP)— Erik ten Hag expects Marcus Rashford to be fit for Manchester United's Premier League trip to Newcastle on Sunday after the forward missed England's recent internationals due to injury.

Rashford withdrew from the England squad for their Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine after suffering an unspecified knock during United's FA Cup quarter-final win over Fulham.

The 25-year-old was subsequently pictured on a break in New York while England were in action, a vacation that raised questions about his commitment to Gareth Southgate's team.

He returned to individual training at United this week and Ten Hag is expecting to include him against Newcastle.

"I've good hope. He trained but he had to do some treatment, he had to do some individual training," Ten Hag told reporters on Friday.

"Today he joined in with the group. We have one more day, so I have a good hope he is available."

Rashford has scored 19 goals in 25 United appearances since returning from the World Cup in December.

He posted a photo with the caption "downtime" during his time in New York and Ten Hag insisted the break was beneficial to his recovery.

"I think it's positive that he was in a break. I think Rashford, I think (along) with Bruno (Fernandes), he was playing the most games of the whole squad," he said.

"I think Manchester United is playing the most games all across Europe and our internationals are not mostly on the bench, mostly they are playing.

"So, our players play the most games and this is crazy season, so they also need times that they can have a breather and can collect energy.

"For me, it's positive that he took that time to turn off from football. I have seen him back this week and he showed a lot of energy and a lot of motivation."

Ten Hag said he is "not Harry Potter" when asked about Rashford's rejuvenation this season after two troubled campaigns prior to the Dutch coach's arrival at Old Trafford.

Rashford's current contract expires at the end of the 2023-24 campaign, but Ten Hag would not be drawn on whether an improved deal was on the horizon.

"We never do (offer updates on negotiations)," Ten Hag said. "It's an internal process. Of course we're also planning for the future, so in the back we're working on that.

"That is about agents, it's about football director John Murtough. We are focusing, Rashy and I, on performing."

Meanwhile, Ten Hag said French forward Anthony Martial could be in the squad to face Newcastle after two months out with a hip issue.

"He's training for two weeks now," Ten Hag said. "I think he can be in the squad for Sunday."

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