It’s hard to believe how far 18-year-old Marcus Rashford has come since scoring in his debut against Midtjylland. Since then, the young English starlet has put on a number of top performances and has turned into a regular name on Manchester United’s team sheet, coming off the bench or starting games. It seems that Rashford has recently taken another step forward in an attempt to be the man leading the United side from the top. With eight goals in his debut season under Louis van Gaal, and three so far under Jose Mourinho, it’s easy to see why Rashford is ambitious. In a recent exclusive interview with Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves, Rashford shared his ambition to continue scoring goals for Manchester United and becoming a better striker, whilst being able to play in a variety of positions.
“I want to score more goals, the main ambition is goals. A few years ago my aim was to score as many goals as I could to show people my talents and what I could do. But now things have changed. There’s some games where your touch might be off but that doesn’t mean that you can’t score goals and win the game for your team.
“As a team we have a good squad and we can compete for the titles this season. On a personal level, scoring a lot of goals is the main objective. I want to become the ultimate centre forward. I want to be able to play on the left, on the right and down the middle.
“To do that I need to improve my game down the sides because my positioning in those areas, where I haven’t played since I was 12 or 13, is a bit off. The manager has been doing some work with me off the left and right so I think he’s trying to improve me in those areas.”
Marcus Rashford obviously has an eye for goal, but what makes him unique is that he is still able to score a number of goals from different positions, being upfront, or along the wings. I personally believe that for his age, his mindset is one of his major strengths, being able to cope with a variety of different situations. Being a natural striker, it’s easy to see why he would want to be placed in the number 9 position week in, week out. At this current moment, the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the side is clearly stopping Rashford from playing in his preferred position, but it can still come as a benefit to Rashford. Being able to have a world class striker to look up to and guide him on his way to being a world class striker is rare, but I am confident that there will be cases this season where Mourinho decides to bench Ibrahimovic and will opt to play Rashford upfront instead.
Today’s win against Leicester showed how well Rashford is able to play on the wings, always looking to use his pace, strength and tactical ability to get past his opposition and look for a scoring opportunity, whether it’s his own or setting up a fellow teammate. This is another major advantage that Rashford brings to the team, as often normal strikers are more selfish and forget to look towards their teammates for scoring opportunities, but Rashford always looks forward and is able to decide if the opportunity is right for him or if another player is in a better position.
Jose Mourinho’s arrival at Manchester United may have led to increased fear for Rashford’s development, but after giving Rashford his opportunity and Rashford taking it, it will be interesting to see how far Rashford improves this season. Rashford went on to comment on his lack of playing time at certain stages, such as Jose Mourinho’s first few games in charge, by stating:
“It is frustrating but I’m not angry that I’m not playing because I understand it’s difficult. We have a lot of big players and a lot of players in my situation as well who are not getting the minutes they probably thought they deserved to get.
“But all of this is good for the squad because everyone is competing in training and it’s improving us as players and as a squad. What the manager has done with the team and the players is a good thing.
“I’m just trying to play with freedom like I did last year and the manager supports me with that. Like he did in the Hull came, the manager just tells me to go and help the team win the game. I was here, there and everywhere during that game trying to find gaps and help the team win the game.”
Whilst he is still young, I hope to see a number of players look up to Rashford and try to emulate how he is handling his situation. Rashford started off on the bench, and has been a regular name on the first team sheet the past couple of games, for this reason, I believe if players such as Morgan Schneiderlin, Memphis Depay, and Matteo Darmian should look closely and try to emulate the way Rashford is managing his situation. Today’s great performance and win against Leicester saw Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata all start in the positions which they are comfortable in. This led to the team putting on a great display for fans attending the game at Old Trafford. Hopefully, this is a sign that Jose Mourinho is listening to his fans, and we wish that he will make similar decisions in the future because from the looks Rashford is well and successfully on his way to becoming the ‘ultimate striker’.