(Reuters) -Anthony Martial has denied refusing to be in Manchester United's squad for Saturday's Premier League game against Aston Villa after interim manager Ralf Rangnick said the Frenchman did not want to be involved.
The 26-year-old forward has started only two league games this season and has not featured since a 3-2 win over Arsenal on Dec. 2. Martial's representative has said he wants to secure a move in January to get more game time.
United are struggling for players due to injuries, COVID-19 and the Africa Cup of Nations but Martial played no part in the 2-2 draw with Villa.
"He didn't want to be in the squad," the coach told a news conference. "He would have been in the squad normally, but he didn't want to and that was the reason why he didn't travel with us yesterday."
However, Martial refuted Rangnick's comments.
"I will never refuse to play a match for Man United," Martial said on Instagram.
"I've been here for seven years and I never disrespected, and will never disrespect, the club and the fans."
Martial signed a new contract in January 2019 that expires in 2024. He has scored 79 goals in 268 games for United.
(Writing by Ken Ferris, additional reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler/Peter Rutherford)