MANCHESTER, England -- Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is offering no assurances that Marcus Rashford will return from a back injury before the end of the season and said only that the club will give the striker as much time as is necessary to recover.
Rashford has suffered a stress fracture in his back and predictions for his comeback have ranged from six weeks to three months. But asked directly at a news conference on Tuesday whether it was possible Rashford may not play again this season, Solskjaer did not rule it out.
"Marcus is going to get as long as he needs to get fit," Solskjaer said. "We are not going to risk him when he has had an injury.
"I have got the best medical staff in the country and I am sure when Marcus comes back he will be 100 percent fit."
Solskjaer has faced criticism for the way he handled Rashford's injury with former Arsenal striker Ian Wright having said the United boss "thought about himself before the player" when deciding to field the 22-year-old against Wolves in the FA Cup third round replay.
Rashford was injured in a collision with Wolves defender Matt Doherty during the game which United won 1-0 but Solskjaer is adamant the forward wanted to play.
"I never put myself before the team," Solskjaer said when asked about Wright's comments. "I always put the team and the club before anything else.
"What we've discussed before here with Marcus, he's had minor discomfort in his back since the Burnley game. That's maybe three weeks before this game?
"We've had scans, we've monitored him. There's not been any injury there. He's had complaints, yeah. I had a discussion and conversation with him the day before or two days before. 'FA Cup, I'm going to rest you'.
"He felt fine. He was very, very adamant that if needed he could at least do half an hour because we want to go through in the cup because it's a big tournament for us. That just shows you Marcus's attitude.
"He looked very free and when I asked him if it was OK to be on the bench, no problem. He wanted to come on. It's just one of those unfortunate things."
Rashford's workload has increased this season after United sanctioned the departures of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to Inter Milan without signing a replacement. It has left Rashford, Anthony Martial and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood as the only recognised strikers in the squad but Solskjaer stood by the decisions made in the summer, even in the wake of Rashford's inury.
"As I've said so many times before, we didn't find the right one for the right price," Solskjaer said. "Of course we knew we were a forward light when Romelu went and Alexis went, but you'll not see Anthony, Marcus and Mason do as well as they've done unless you give them the chance to play.
"Harry Hindsight, he's quite clever. That's the thing. We've got to make decisions there and then on what we believe in, and I still stick with that."