Gary Neville shakes head at details of Marcus Rashford's clash with Erik ten Hag

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Gary Neville shakes head at details of Marcus Rashford
Gary Neville shakes head at details of Marcus Rashford's clash with Erik ten Hag

Gary Neville shook his head in approval after Marcus Rashford outlined Erik ten Hag's ruthless rules at Manchester United.

Rashford was dropped to the bench for a Premier League game against Wolves last December after turning up just "45 seconds" late for a team meeting. The forward responded to Ten Hag's axe by coming off the bench and scoring the winner at Molineux.

Ten Hag's decision to drop Rashford dominated the headlines, as the England star was bang in form after scoring three goals at the World Cup in Qatar. He went on to enjoy his best season to date, finding the net 30 times in all competitions for the Red Devils.

United's stars have been criticised for a lack of discipline in the past, but Ten Hag has refused to take any nonsense at Old Trafford since his appointment a year ago. Rashford's recollection of the Wolves incident would suggest as much.

Neville asked Rashford about his axe during an appearance on The Overlap. Rashford agreed with the decision "100 per cent" before adding: "I learned from pre-season, a couple of the lads were late and it was important to implement his rules there and then.

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"I wasn’t even that late - he wasn’t being harsh - late is late, but it was probably about 45 seconds, a minute late. I already knew what was going to happen because of the rules he implemented in pre-season. Rules are rules and we’ve got a game to win."

Neville played under legendary United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who is one of the greatest disciplinarians in football history, during his time at Old Trafford. Yet the club's players appeared to lack discipline after Ferguson's retirement a decade ago.

"I think the players obviously get away with murder," Roy Keane told the BBC after Jose Mourinho was sacked by the club in December 2018. "Just the way they hide behind their manager. Whatever you say about the players they've thrown him under the bus.

"And people said Mourinho has been falling out with players, well you would fall out with players when they turn up overweight, when players aren't training properly and not producing, and then for some of them to down tools. Shame on some of those players."

Gary Neville shakes head at details of Marcus Rashford's clash with Erik ten HagRashford is enjoying playing under Erik ten Hag (PA)

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Keane added: "No matter what's going on at your club, when you get out on that pitch, particularly at a big club like United, you go out and give it your all. No excuses."

That is an attitude Ten Hag adheres to. After United were humbled 4-0 by Brentford in just his second game in charge, the Dutchman made his players run 13.8km the next day because that was the distance Thomas Frank's side collectively ran more than United.

What's most impressive about the punishment is that Ten Hag joined in with his players. United responded to that by finishing third in the Premier League - securing their return to the Champions League - winning the Carabao Cup and reaching the FA Cup final.

Rashford added: "When he came in, I didn’t hear him talking about getting in the top four once. All he spoke about was winning trophies. It doesn’t matter what we’re playing in - Europa League, Premier League, any of the cups, he wants to win everything."

Tom Blow

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