Wed. Feb 24th, 2021

Man Utd


Marcus Rashford deserves more than debate about Manchester United form

4 min read

Stick to football, Marcus Rashford is regularly being told on Twitter.

And social media being how it is, that’s not nearly the worst thing that gets said to Manchester United’s No.10, shamefully.

Yet those three words alone would be enough to get the goat of many with shorter fuses than Rashford, for they ignore the blindingly obvious — Rashford does not need to stick to football when he makes such a difference outside the game.

And, by the way, he’s not too shabby when it comes to the football either.

His powerful strike to squirm through the hands of Karl Darlow in United’s 3-1 win over Newcastle was Rashford’s 85th Premier League goal for United, equalling a bona fide legend in David Beckham.

Rashford does not turn 24 until the final day of October this year. It is frightening to imagine what he could achieve in the next decade at Old Trafford.

And he could do it all at the same time as having a positive influence on the political and social direction of the country during such a difficult time. Incredible, really.

This season alone, Rashford has already notched 18 goals and 10 assists, amid a strange narrative that he is in some way underperforming.

Okay, the United front three of last season — and particularly the post-lockdown period — has not clicked like it did, but the focus really should be on Anthony Martial’s struggles.

Rashford’s numbers are putting the Frenchman (seven goals this season, just four in the league) to shame.

This season alone, Rashford has already notched 18 goals and 10 assists, amid a strange narrative that he is in some way underperforming

It was telling that Rashford chose to speak about Shola Shoretire after the Newcastle game, congratulating the 17-year-old on making his senior debut, at an even younger age than Rashford did himself back in 2016. Rashford doesn’t tend to think about himself. He showed why is he considered a leader in this United squad — even if some doubt those leadership credentials.

“He’s even younger than I was,” joked Rashford in an interview with MUTV about Shoretire.

“It’s a top moment, when a young player makes his debut they kick on from that and hopefully we see the same from him.

“He’s got a lot of quality, the more often he trains with us and plays with us he’s going to feel relaxed and can show his quality on the pitch.”

Rashford turned in another good performance last night

They are comments you might expect from a ‘senior’ player at a club when a youngster makes their bow, but even so it felt powerful that they were coming from Rashford — a role model of Shoretire’s.

The United forward is very aware of his responsibilities as a club ambassador, having come through the academy himself.

“In the academy they always emphasise following in footsteps,” he added. “It’s something I always took great acknowledgement of when I was a youngster wanting to get in the first team.

“It’s a cycle and hopefully the younger ones now will see him playing and they will kick on.”

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Manchester United made heavy weather of their 3-1 win over Newcastle in the Premier League, eventually getting the job done at Old Trafford.

Marcus Rashford, Daniel James and Bruno Fernandes were on the scoresheet as United got back to winning ways in the league. They face Real Sociedad on Thursday, after hammering the Spanish side 4-0 in their Europa League first leg.

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Such comments, and such goal and assist numbers should really change the discourse regarding Rashford and how he is viewed.

Even this correspondent has been guilty of expecting too much from the 23-year-old. Okay, his finishing is not always consistent and he can fluff good opportunities, but he produces the goods regularly enough to warrant a little more respect.

The United forward is very aware of his responsibilities as a club ambassador, having come through the academy himself

Fans talk about Bruno Fernandes’ unerring ability to conjure a goal or assist out of nowhere — as the Portuguese did against Newcastle — but it was Rashford who dragged the game by its coat-tails when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men were floundering on Sunday night. It was Rashford who scored, then won a penalty, and then spoke with maturity and dignity afterwards.

He is not the complete footballer, but he is as close to it as United could possibly want, on and off the pitch.

He is having an excellent season and this maybe needs to be said a little more often about Marcus Rashford’s football.

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