“I can’t see the point of keeping him.”
He did not get much of a word in, but Jamie Redknapp made it count on a couple of occasions.
In the box-office TV that followed Manchester City’s 4-1 thumping of Manchester United, Redknapp spoke for only about three minutes, but he still made the best point.
As the supposed neutral, in amid Gary Neville, Roy Keane and Micah Richards, the former Liverpool and Tottenham midfielder was often on the sidelines. We had Keane castigating “shameful” United stars that, he felt, gave up, Neville on the deep-rooted rot at the club and Richards proclaiming the club exposed themselves by not moving for Antonio Conte.
Redknapp tried to come in, when there were brief openings, but he found himself scolded by host Dave Jones for trying to focus on United’s top four ambitions while there was a title-chase discussion on-going. He apologised, sat back and bided his time.
When he next spoke, it was with a well considered point, one he has brought up before, and one that makes even more sense after a Monday of multiple leaks out of the club.
It took Jamie Redknapp a while before he could get a proper say in the post-match debate. When he did get a chance though, he spoke of a summer clear-out that, in his mind, could well include Marcus Rashford.
“You’ve got Paul Pogba out of contract in the summer,” he began, “I can’t see the point of keeping him.
“I’m looking at Marcus Rashford right now and I’m thinking, if you’re not getting in a game like this – and Gary named the centre forwards that aren’t there – I’d be looking to go, as well. And it might be the best thing for him. They need to have a change.
“Ronaldo, I don’t think he’ll be here next year. You can’t build a team around Ronaldo. He’s been one of the greatest players the world has ever seen [but] he’s not the future for Man United… Cavani shouldn’t be there next year.
“Is Aaron Wan-Bissaka, as a right-back, going to take United to the next level? Of course he isn’t. Left-backs, I don’t trust, centre-backs, I don’ trust. Midfield players…”
In the past, Keane or Neville would have jumped in with positives, or disagreements. Both could only sit back and let Redknapp have his say.
Back in 2018, Redknapp copped some flak from United supporters after suggesting Rashford could move away, soon after the club had signed Alexis Sanchez. He had commented:
“I just feel for people like Marcus Rashford. They go down the pecking order and he’s probably thinking to himself, ‘Where do I fit in now?’
“Part of the Premier League is having these players, but I just feel sorry when someone like Marcus Rashford is thinking, ‘This is another pathway blocked for me.’ He might have to go in the end.”
Rashford, of course, stuck it out at the club and long out-lasted the misfiring Sanchez.
His 2021/22 season has been hampered by injury, poor form and, under Ralf Rangnick, losing the faith of United management. So unhappy is the England striker that the well-sourced reporter Fabrizio Romano has claimed he is considering a move away from the club.
Such statements, and such a thought, would be unheard of as recently as last summer, but it has been an underwhelming season for the player and club. Anything seems possible, right now.