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Will Marcus Rashford Fix His Manchester United Career Under Erik Ten Hag?

Cain Smith

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Will Marcus Rashford Fix His Manchester United Career Under Erik Ten Hag?

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Marcus Rashford had the worst season of his career last term, will he be able to turn his fortunes around under Erik ten Hag?

The capitulation of his form all started with the decision to delay his shoulder operation in order to make Gareth Southgate's Euro 2020 squad.

His minimal involvement in the tournament, added with his penalty miss in the final when he was brought on in the 118th minute, made the choice seem ludicrous.

Rashford, along with Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho, had tons of abuse thrown his way following England's final heartbreak against Italy. A mural dedicated to United's no.10 was vandalised following the event.

Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho wait to warm up for an England game alongside Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka (Alamy)
Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho wait to warm up for an England game alongside Raheem Sterling and Bukayo Saka (Alamy)

This also meant that Rashford's return to his club was later than if he had the surgery before the international competition.

By the time the forward was fully recovered and back on the pitch, United's - and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's - demise was already underway.

His first Premier League game of the season was the 4-2 loss to Leicester City, despite scoring from the bench, United's frail defensive unit was finally taken advantage of by Brendan Rodger's men.

Rashford's next league fixture came after he scored again, this time in a Champions League victory against Atalanta, but the idea of a 'bounce-back' was short lived after United were embarrassed at Old Trafford by Liverpool; losing 5-0 to Jurgen Klopp's men.

Rashford played 66 minutes in that nightmare fixture, and it wasn't much longer before the Norwegian manager was dismissed.

With the appointment of Ralf Rangnick, Rashford saw the starting team-sheet just 13 times throughout the rest of the season, with the German preferring the more energetic Anthony Elanga.

Anthony Elanga shushes Leeds United fans at Elland Road after scoring against them. (Alamy)
Anthony Elanga shushes Leeds United fans at Elland Road after scoring against them. (Alamy)

Rashford's talent seemed lost and reports of Antonio Conte's Spurs wanting the out-of-form attacker didn't seem crazy. A new start for the player did not seem out of the question.

However, the intention to remain at his childhood club and aim to impress new manager Erik ten Hag is admirable, especially since so many of the club's supporters have seemed to have lost hope for the player after last season.

Football is a complicated game, but it is also a confidence game - that is something that Rashford, among other United men, was lacking in abundance last term.

Ten Hag is known to squeeze the best out of his talented players, so is it too much of a stretch to believe that he could help the 24-year-old turn a corner in his career?

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Poor development has been the name of the game at Old Trafford in recent years, but many of the players have taken the brunt of the fault.

Anthony Martial? Lazy. Paul Pogba? Virus. Fred? Too Erratic.

So many players have stunted in their development since joining the club, and it has been the case with Rashford in the last few seasons, but he does still have time on his side.

Marcus Rashford during Manchester United's 2019 pre-season tour (Alamy)
Marcus Rashford during Manchester United's 2019 pre-season tour (Alamy)

The talent is also obviously there, despite last seasons horror show. The forward has shown over the last five years that he can be a very dangerous attacker.

Of course, he needs to do a lot of work himself, but finally working under a coach who is a specialist in developing his players could be a blessing for the player.

His performances in previous campaigns have shown that the ability is there, and with fine-tuning, he could become even better. But the first call of action will be to get that confidence back.

Ultimately, whether it works out for Rashford will come down to himself, but he does deserve a chance under the new Dutch manager.

Topics: Manchester United, Marcus Rashford, Erik Ten Hag, Premier League, Football, Euro 2021

Cain Smith
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