Mourinho confirms injury forced Rashford to come off for captain Wayne Rooney

The young striker was brought off due to cramp during the 77th minute in Monday's draw against Liverpool.

Mourinho confirms injury forced Rashford to come off for captain Wayne Rooney
Marouane Fellaini tried to help Rashford recover before he was forced off. (Photo: Clive Brunskill/ Getty Images)

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that young striker Marcus Rashford was forced off due to injury in Monday’s draw away to Liverpool.

The England international was replaced by captain Wayne Rooney in the 77th minute against the Merseyside outfit, and United’s Portuguese boss said that that was due to the teenager suffering from cramp.

Rashford departure altered Mourinho’s game plan

United saw little of the ball during the Premier League contest against Jürgen Klopp’s men, which led to some claims that Mourinho and his side settled for a draw.

However, the ex-Chelsea chief suggested that he only settled for a point after Rashford came off. He said that he was “thinking about playing Rashford in the position behind Zlatan,” but explained that “he had cramp and I made a change.”

Mourinho continued, saying that “at that moment I thought it would be difficult to win now, so let’s not lose it."

Rashford battled against Liverpool's James Milner during the goalless draw | Photo: Andrew Powell/ Liverpool FC via Getty)
Rashford battled against Liverpool's James Milner during the goalless draw | Photo: Andrew Powell/ Liverpool FC via Getty)

Rooney dig from Mourinho?

The fact that Mourinho has inferred Rooney’s arrival was something of a defensive move does not bode well for the club and national team captain.

The 30-year-old played on the right of midfield, as Rashford had done for the previous part of the game after he was brought on at Anfield.

He didn’t make much of an impact on the game, which was understandable considering Mourinho’s conservative tactics. However, that suggests Rooney probably won't be reintroduced to the starting XI for the more important matches in the near future.

Another chance for Rashford?

In contrast, however, Mourinho’s words should be encouraging for Rashford.

The forward was also only sporadically involved against Liverpool, but the prospect of being played in a central position demonstrates Mourinho’s recognition of the youngster’s qualities.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic having failed to score in the club’s last five league matches – his last came during September’s home defeat against Manchester City – Rashford might even get a chance to lead the line in this weekend’s Premier League contest against Chelsea.