Martial hits back at Rangnick ‘refusal to play’ claims as Man Utd row escalates

Martial was absent from Manchester United’s squad for their Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Saturday, with Rangnick claiming the attacker had refused to travel

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Aston Villa v Manchester United: Match in pictures

Anthony Martial has hit back at Ralf Rangnick after the interim Manchester United boss claimed the Frenchman had refused to be a member of the squad that travelled to Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Red Devils faced Steven Gerrard’s side for the second time in five days, having beaten them in the third round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford last Monday.

Youngster Anthony Elanga was surprisingly selected for his first Premier League start of the season, having only played 20 minutes of the rest of the top-flight campaign so far.

Usual senior attackers Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford and Martial were all left out of the matchday squad, with Rangnick only naming eight substitutes for the trip to Villa Park.

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Anthony Martial has hit back at Ralf Rangnick for his claims that he refused to play against Aston Villa



Though Rangnick had suggested that Ronaldo and Rashford would be available, both suffered injury setbacks which ruled them out of the clash.

But Martial should have been fit again after returning from a knee injury, with the attacker a surprising omission.

Following the 2-2 draw with Gerrard’s side, Rangnick made it clear that Martial’s absence was the player’s own decision.

“Yes, he didn’t want to be in the squad,” Rangnick said when asked to explain Martial’s omission.

“He would have been in the squad normally but he didn’t want to, and that’s the reason why he was not travelling with us.”

Martial has not played for the Red Devils since a brief two-minute cameo in the final game before Rangnick took interim charge.

He held a meeting with the German last month in which he made it clear that he would be seeking to leave Old Trafford.

But that wish has been harder to fulfil than expected, with United demanding a high loan fee and his wages be covered in full.

Martial was absent from the Manchester United squad as they drew with Aston Villa


AFP via Getty Images)

That has seen interest in the 26-year-old diminish, while Sevilla has also seen a bid for Martial rejected.

While he appeared to be attempting to force through a move by taking himself out of contention, the United outcast hit back at Rangnick’s claims on Saturday night.

In a statement posted on social media, Martial insisted that he had not refused to travel to the Midlands.

“I will never refuse to play a match for Man United,” Martial posted on his story on Instagram.

“I’ve been here for seven years and I have never disrespected and will never disrespect the club and the fans.”

With Martial absent, United threw away a two-goal lead at Villa Park, with a Bruno Fernandes brace having put them in control of the Premier League clash.

Jacob Ramsey pulled a goal back for Villa with 13 minutes remaining before Philippe Coutinho came off the bench to score the equaliser.

The draw is a major blow to United’s hopes of finishing in the top four, with Rangnick’s men now five points behind West Ham who occupy the final Champions League qualification place.

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