Manchester United manager, Jose Mourinho, on Friday, defended the number of minutes Marcus Rashford has played under him since taking over at the club in 2016.
The 56-year-old has been criticized for not giving the young forward enough playing time, especially in the last two seasons.
But Mourinho, speaking at a news conference at Carrington schooled his critics, including Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher. The Portuguese read out a pre-prepared list of the number of appearances the forward has had since he took over as manager.
Carragher suggested after England’s 1-0 win over Switzerland on Tuesday, in which Rashford scored the only goal, that the player may have to leave Old Trafford to fulfill his potentials.
More so, since Alexis Sanchez arrived at Old Trafford in January, Rashford has made only eight starts for United and just one this season.
He said, “If you don’t mind losing a couple of minutes, I’m going to do something not for you [the media] but the United fans and I think I hold myself to the United fans and for them I am going to spend two minutes with you.
“In 2016-17, Marcus Rashford played 32 Premier League matches, 11 Europa League matches, including the final, three FA Cup matches, six League Cup matches and the Community Shield.
“He had 53 appearances, but if you want to take the minutes of play, he played 3,068 and if you want to divide that by 90 minutes matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90 minutes matches in 2016-17.
“In 2017-18, 35 Premier League matches, eight in the Champions League, five in FA Cup, three League Cup matches and the European Super Cup final.
“He played a total of 52 matches with 2,676 minutes, if you divide that by 90 minutes, gives 29.7 matches.
“So with me, in two seasons, he had 105 appearances, 5,774 mins, 63.7 matches of 90 minutes, including five finals, so the people that are speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused.
“Marcus Rashford is not Dominic Solanke. He is not Ruben Loftus-Cheek, he is not Dominic Calvert-Lewin. He is Marcus Rashford, a Manchester United player, with an incredible number of appearances and an incredible number of minutes played at the highest level in the best possible competitions.
“So Manchester United supporters, for you and just for you, to know what we are doing with Marcus Rashford, that’s what we are doing here.”
“But for the Manchester United supporters it is important they have the right idea of how things are in reality but the most important thing of all is that the kid is a good kid, a good player, knows what Manchester United did for him.
“Since I was here, he was never one day out of selection because of my decision, only if he was injured or suspended.
“He was never ever out of a selection, so he knows and that’s the most important thing.
“But the media is very important and it is very important Manchester United supporters know the truth, that’s why I’m going so specific about these numbers.”
The 20-year-old will miss United’s away trip to joint-table toppers, Watford on Saturday, as he was sent off during the 2-0 win over Burnley before the international break.
Mourinho said he expects to be criticized if the former academy player does not feature at Vicarage Road.
“I think I can expect that Sunday I’m going to be highly criticised for not playing him because some of the boys are really obsessed with me and some of them have a problem with some compulsive lies,” added Mourinho.
“I can expect that Sunday some of them will wake up in the morning and the first thing they think is Jose Mourinho, so I can imagine on Sunday I am going to be criticised for not playing Marcus but it’s not my fault, he’s suspended.
Mourinho also said Luke Shaw is free to play Watford after recovering from a head injury, though he has not decided whether the defender will play.
Shaw was carried off during England’s defeat to Spain and missed the win over Switzerland at Leicester on Tuesday.
“I don’t know [if he will play],” said Mourinho. “Contrary to some news, to some opinions by the protocol point of view and according to our doctor, he will be free to play.
“The only situation we have to analyse is if you are going to play him when during the week he was not training with the team.”
Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera are also doubtful for the tie.Fellaini withdrew from the Belgium squad with a back problem, while Herrera is nursing an ankle injury.