Manchester United's Marcus Rashford during the Premier League match against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, Manchester. Sunday December 5, 2021.

Watch: Marcus Rashford turns and gives up as Villa keeper spills shot

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has not been in fine fettle since returning from injury earlier this season and his woes were summed up on Monday night when he turned his back a gave up on a potential chance as Aston goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez spilled a shot. 

Rashford was injured for much of the second part of last season and Euro 2020, playing on through a shoulder issue.

After England lost the Euro 2020 final, he finally decided to have surgery. But since his return, he has not looked the same player that managed 22 goals in 44 games in the 2019-20 campaign.

He had not scored in ten appearances in all competitions going into United’s Monday night FA Cup third-round win over Aston Villa at Old Trafford and had been widely criticised for his lacklustre displays in that time.

BBC pundit Alan Shearer weighed in on the debate at half-time, saying: “A lot of the time this season it looks as if everything’s a chore. A lot of it looks like hard work for him. He doesn’t seem to be enjoying his football.”

Rashford certainly gave that impression in the second half when he spurned a potential chance by turning his back and giving up his chase after the ball.

With 17 minutes to go and United 1-0 up, Mason Greenwood flew up the wing in search of a goal to give United a cushion. He broke into the box and got a shot away. But it was parried by Martinez.

After the parry, however, Martinez struggled to collect as he collided with Tyrone Mings.

Rashford was in the vicinity, but after Greenwood’s shot he’d started to turn his back on the action rather than hounding out a potential opportunity.

Had Rashford been at his sharpest, the ball may well have ended up in the back of the net. As it was, Martinez was left to gather the ball in relative peace.

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