Ole Gunnar Solskjaer defended his handling of sidelined striker Marcus Rashford and hit back at Ian Wright, insisting he would never put his own interests ahead of a players’ health. The Manchester United boss came in for stinging criticism in the wake of the diagnosis of a double stress fracture of the back ruling the striker out for up to three months.

Former England and Arsenal forward Wright accused Solskjaer of gambling selfishly with his the player’s fitness when fielding him against Wolves last week despite knowing he was carrying the injury.

But Solskjaer yesterday hit back at Wright insisting he did not have the full facts.

And he maintained that contrary to reports United’s medical department had not identified any serious issue before he played in the FA Cup replay.

“I never put myself before the team. I always put the team and the club before anything else,” said Solskjaer. “Marcus had minor discomfort in his back since the Burnley game (on December 28). We’ve had scans, we’ve monitored him. There’s not been any injury there.

“He’s had complaints, yes. I had a discussion and conversation with him the day before or two days before and said ‘I’m going to rest you’.

“But he said he felt fine. He was adamant that, if needed, he could at least do half an hour because we want to go through in the Cup because it’s a big tournament for us.

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“He had no complaints training the day before the game, he did really well. He looked very free and when I asked him if it was OK to be on the bench, (it was) no problem.

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“He wanted to come on. It’s just one of those unfortunate things.

“You know we monitor and we take risks… not take risks, we have to manage players every single day. There are loads of things that Ian Wright or anyone doesn’t know about.

“The medical staff here, they are very, very good. This one is just one of those unfortunate things.”

Rashford had been using a portable ultrasound machine provided by the medical department to treat pain in his back for some time.

But Solskjaer suggested while he was aware of his treatment it was something he was self-managing.

“I don’t think he’s used it a lot,” he said. “I cannot micro-manage every single player. Marcus is a guy and a player who wants to make sure he tries absolutely everything to maximise his career.

“It’s probably something he’s initiated here with the medical staff here as well, to make sure he is healing as quick as he has always done.

“He’s had issues before with his back and he’s always played with them. He’s never complained really.



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