Marcus Rashford and Man Utd have been dealt a blow

Credit: PA

Marcus Rashford could miss the first two months of the new Premier League season after deciding to push ahead with surgery on a long-standing shoulder problem.

The Manchester United and England forward underwent scans on Tuesday on a muscle tear in his left shoulder that he has been managing since last November.

Although an operation is not considered a necessity at this stage because the tear is not expected to worsen, Rashford is concerned that the problem has not got better over time and that his movement will continue to be inhibited if he does not have surgery. The pain-killing injections that Rashford has had are also not a long-term solution.

Telegraph Sport understands Rashford would like to have the surgery immediately but that it is unlikely to happen until the end of the month, an unfortunate delay.

It is expected that it would be around six weeks before Rashford could resume training post surgery and that the 23-year-old could be facing up to 12 weeks on the sidelines in total.

The prospect of losing one of their best players for such a lengthy absence would be a severe blow to United’s hopes of starting the season strongly as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer bids to end the club’s eight-year wait for the title.

Rashford could miss United’s first eight league games, including their season opener against Leeds United at Old Trafford on Aug. 14, and their first three Champions League group stage matches, in addition to England’s five World Cup qualifiers in September and October.

Fans rally around the Marcus Rashford mural in Withington

Credit: Reuters

It has been a traumatic past 72 hours for Rashford after he was subjected to appalling racist abuse following his penalty miss in England’s shoot-out defeat to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 at Wembley and also had a mural in his honour in Manchester defaced, although the player has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from so many. Kylian Mbappe, Lewis Hamilton and David Beckham are among those to have sent him personal messages of support.

Rashford has been encouraged not to rush into a decision over surgery and is now due to go on holiday for a fortnight but it is thought the player feels an operation to correct the problem will be in his and United and England’s best longer-term interests.

Only Bruno Fernandes played more matches for United last season than the 57 Rashford managed but, while he completed 90 minutes in all but three of his first 17 Premier League starts, he was only able to finish the game in half of his final 16 league starts of the campaign.

Rashford was given pain-killing injections to help manage the problem and Solskjaer talked in admiration about how he would “run through a brick wall for you”.

But, at its most painful, particularly later in games when the swelling became more severe, the shoulder issue restricted his mobility, including his ability to jump for and hold up the ball, and he was seldom given any chance to rest by Solskjaer.

It was a similar situation the previous season when Rashford was played despite having a single stress fracture in his back and then aggravated the problem in an FA Cup tie against Wolves, with scans subsequently revealing a double stress fracture. Ian Wright, the former Arsenal and England striker, accused Solskjaer of putting “himself above Marcus Rashford’s health”.

Rashford down injured against Wolves

Credit: Reuters

Rashford’s end to the season was further complicated by an ankle injury he suffered in early March after his foot got caught in the turf during United’s 2-0 derby win over Manchester City. He was struggling to get his foot in his boot during training sessions in the final weeks of the season and the ankle ballooned on the flight to Poland for the Europa League final against Villarreal, which United lost on penalty shoot-out. It is thought Rashford’s ankle could also be looked at when he undergoes shoulder surgery.

Nonetheless, Rashford felt in good enough condition to make an impact for England at the Euros and his impressive performances in training are understood to have left some of his team-mates wondering why he did not feature more in the tournament.

Rashford played the fewest minutes (84) of the 21 England players who featured bar Jude Bellingham and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

United are expected to formally announce the signing of Rashford’s England team-mate, Jadon Sancho, who also missed a penalty in the shoot-out against Italy, this week after the player underwent a medical with the club on Tuesday. It was announced during the Euros that United had agreed a £73 million fee with Borussia Dortmund for Sancho.

But the prospect of being without Rashford until mid October is a big set-back for Solskjaer. Rashford scored 21 goals and claimed 15 assists for United last season.

Exclusive: Marcus Rashford splits from Roc Nation agency after one year

By Mike McGrath

Marcus Rashford is set to leave the Roc Nation agency after being represented by the company founded by Jay-Z for just over a year.

The England forward’s successful campaigning for free school meals has been during his time with the company, with the Government announcing a policy change as a result of his lobbying.

Rashford, 23, is no longer on Roc Nation’s list of clients on their website and its social media platforms only celebrated Tyrone Mings, their remaining England player, as a Euro 2020 finalist against Italy at the weekend. 

After missing a penalty in the shootout defeat, Rashford was subjected to online racial abuse, which he has also fought against with powerful statements on his own accounts during the last year. 

Rashford has worked closely with Kelly Hogarth, Roc Nation’s vice-president of strategy and communications, and it is understood he will continue to work with her but not with the company. 

He was represented by D N May Sports Management – run by his brothers Dwaine Maynard and Dane Rashford – for his last contract with Manchester United, according to the official paperwork lodged with the Football Association. Roc Nation have looked after his off-the-field work.

When he joined Roc Nation in April 2020, they said the partnership encompassed “philanthropy, PR and marketing, communications, digital strategy and commercial partnerships”. 

Roc Nation count Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku among their clients and last year also recruited Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha. They moved into football six years ago and had Germany centre-back, Jerome Boateng, among their first clients. In 2019 they opened an office in London.

Rashford released a statement at the end of last season condemning the racial abuse he suffered online after Manchester United’s defeat in the Europa League final. He also revealed there were “physical obstacles” that he was managing.

At the Euros he made substitute appearances in five games and was brought on with seconds left against Italy for the penalty shootout. Last night he issued a statement apologising for his miss but said he "will never apologise for who I am" after he was subjected to racist abuse.