Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are back in training with Manchester United ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium, raising the possibility that the pair could yet be involved in the crunch clash.
Since his return from a loan at Sevilla, Martial has played just 45 minutes in all competitions so far this season between hamstring and Achilles complaints, crucially assisting Rashford’s decisive goal in last month’s catalyst win over Liverpool.
Rashford, meanwhile had a great September, scoring twice, assisting twice and winning Premier League Player of the Month. But he suffered a muscle problem in United’s last domestic game, missing two Europa League matches and was ruled out of international duty.
Doubts were expressed as recently as Thursday over whether Rashford or Martial would be able to play against Manchester City after it had been reported by The Times that neither had fully partaken in training. But Ten Hag delivered a positive message when he addressed the media on Friday.
“Anthony Martial has been training with the group all week, really happy with that situation. Marcus Rashford also joined training, so we are happy with that,” the United boss revealed.
Harry Maguire has, however, been ruled out of the game through injury.
Even fit, under-fire Maguire likely wouldn’t have had more than a place on the bench. The club captain has lost his place in the team since back-to-back losses at the start of the season, with Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez now Ten Hag’s preferred defensive pairing.
That being said, the £80m man still retains the public support of his manager.
“I have to coach him and back him,” Ten Hag explained. “I back him because I believe in him. I can see his qualities. Quality is there. Almost 50 caps for England, he has high potential. Then it is about him. We all believe in him.”