Report: Two stars turned down Manchester United captaincy role under Solskjaer

Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford declined to lead Manchester United

Two Manchester United players who apparently declined Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s offer to serve as captain were Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba.

Early in the 2021–22 season, Solskjaer was fired, and he hasn’t yet accepted a new management position. Nearly two years after taking command of his final United game, the Norwegian has stated he will start duty as a UEFA technical observer.

He recently opened up about his time in the Old Trafford dugout. The Norwegian, who desires a promotion back to management, stated on The Overlap (h/t The Mirror):

“Some weren’t as good as their own perception of themselves. I won’t name names but I was very disappointed when a couple turned down the chance to be captain. I was also disappointed when others said they wouldn’t play or train because they wanted to force their way out.”

Paul Pogba left Manchester United for nothing last summer, joining Juventus in Italy.
Paul Pogba left Manchester United for nothing last summer, joining Juventus in Italy.

After the 2021–22 campaign, Pogba departed from United and re-joined his previous team Juventus on a free transfer. But Rashford stayed and flourished in Erik ten Hag’s debut campaign, tallying a career-high 30 goals across all competitions.

After Ashley Young, the former captain, moved for Inter Milan in January 2020, Solskjaer gave Harry Maguire the captain’s armband. Although he lost his starting position, the England centre-back remained captain until the end of the 2022–23 campaign.

However, before the current campaign, Fernandes took his spot. According to The Sun), Rashford and Pogba were offered the chance to serve as the team’s captain but they declined.

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United.
Marcus Rashford of Manchester United. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Such reports have to be taken with a pinch of salt because we have all seen Rashford’s love and dedication to the club. Moreover, such a claim can also reflect poorly on Ole, rather than the players. A good manager can get the players to believe in the project and take on responsibilities.

Rashy is still here while Pogba has gone to Juventus. But Ten Hag has arguably taken the right call by appointing Fernandes as the captain.

Although he has faced some backlash since assuming the captain’s role, the midfielder excelled against Burnley on Saturday. At Turf Moor, his goal was the game’s lone scorer and helped United win after three straight losses.

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Ten Hag’s team now has nine points from six games after winning away at Burnley. However, they are still nine points behind Manchester City after the reigning champions maintained their spotless record by defeating Nottingham Forest.