Ex-Premier League striker Tony Cascarino believes the speculation linking Jadon Sancho with a move to Manchester United is hindering Marcus Rashford’s form.
Rashford was enjoying the most prolific spell of his career before the coronavirus crisis halted football in March, having scored 19 goals in 23 games for United and England.
Since football resumed in June, however, he has found the back of the net just three times, and was ineffective again in the 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace on Saturday.
According to Cascarino, the constant rumours about a big-money move for Dortmund’s Sancho are doing little to help Rashford in his attempts to get back to his best.
Speaking to The Times, Cascarino said: “To a man, Manchester United were woeful against Crystal Palace but the most worrying thing about the performance was Marcus Rashford.
“Joel Ward, the Palace right back, did not give Rashford a kick and we saw none of his typical dynamism in attack. Rashford is a player who sets the tempo for United.
“If he is making threatening runs, or taking on defenders, then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team look deadly. If he has an off-day, they can appear flat.
“In truth, he has not looked the same player since lockdown. Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial were lauded for their goals as United finished the season in style and there has been much speculation about Jadon Sancho arriving.
“I cannot help but feel that Rashford’s nose has been put out of joint.”
It remains to be seen whether United can complete a deal to sign Sancho before the end of the transfer window, with Dortmund seemingly still unwilling to budge on their £108m valuation of the forward.
Sancho and Rashford have regularly linked up successfully at international level, and the prospect of the two doing so at Old Trafford is one which would no doubt excite United fans.