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Marcus Rashford to impress Manchester United supporters during the 2019/20 season…

Marcus Rashford signed a new four-year contract at Manchester United this week ahead of what could be a season which sees him shine in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad. United did not do too well last season, finishing sixth in the Premier League and conceding 54 goals across the season in the top-flight – the worst they have done since the 1978/79 season.

Ahead of the 2019/20 Premier League season, Solskjaer is looking to bring new players into his squad, so far signing Daniel James from Swansea City and Aaron Wan-Bissaka from Crystal Palace – spending £60 million before add ons are taken into account; which would take the spending to £68 million, so far at least.

United will be tasked with playing a better brand of football this coming season and to try and take United back to the top level of football, which will not happen overnight. It is going to be a long game of rebuilding in which supporters will need to be patient and not demand everything in one go. The past rebuilding effort since the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson has not worked as well as maybe it should have – based on the money spent, more than £700 million, not taking this summer into account.

Rashford emerged in the United first team during the 2015/16 season, replacing Anthony Martial in the starting XI, after injury, against FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League; scoring a brace within thirty minutes of the second half which inspired United to a 5-1 victory after losing 2-1 away from home. Rashford then started against Arsenal days later, scoring a brace again in a 3-2 victory over the North London club.

Last season, Rashford made a total of 47 appearances for the club in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and the Emirates FA Cup. He scored a total of 13 goals in those competitions, also assisting nine more – meaning he had a foot in 24 goals, which was good for the 21-year-old. It maybe should have been more, but that might be a discussion for another day. Rashford played a total of 3,291 minutes of football for United.

When Solskjaer replaced Jose Mourinho in December 2018, he chose to place Rashford as the lead striker, benching Romelu Lukaku, who could leave the club for Inter Milan this summer, if the Italian giants pay for the player, rather than trying to get him on loan, paying very little up front. With Rashford taking his place and Lukaku not being the best striker for the club, this led to the Belgian’s upset with Rashford leading the line.

An ankle injury sustained in March, which kept Rashford out for nine days, may have been the main cause of his lack of form towards the end of the season. Despite not being 100%, the 21-year-old made himself available for his team, which was admirable, yet he gets some hate on social media for doing this, rather than sitting on the sidelines until he was 100%. Wayne Rooney never got this kind of criticism for making himself available.

If Solskjaer manages to get some important signings made this summer, namely a right-winger, a combative central defender and two central midfielders; one to take the strain off Nemanja Matic and one to aid in attack, it is possible that United could then head in the right direction, achieving the feats on the pitch that the supporters crave. For six years now, despite seeing United lift the FA Cup, the EFL Cup and the UEFA Europa League, we have seen them underachieve.

The fact that Rashford was involved in 24 goals in all competitions during the past season, it shows that he has the hunger, desire and more importantly, the ability to be the main striker in the team. Yes, his finishing is sometimes poor but that is part of the course of development. As Solskjaer once said; “the more mistakes you make, the more you learn.” That shows that the manager knows, after being there himself, that development is all about rectifying mistakes, in the matches which follow.

Rashford has had a short career at United thus far, playing for the first team for three full seasons, since his debut two months into 2016. He has played a total of 170 competitive matches for United, scoring 45 goals – most of them playing out of his desired position, often on the left or the right flank of a front three. If this does not show the desire and determination the player has, nothing will. Instead of judging him for his off-field behaviour, judge him for what he achieves for United, starting in the 2019/20 season.

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