Marcus Rashford signs new long-term contract at Manchester United; time for him to properly emerge?

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has signed a new four-year contract at the Old Trafford club. The 21-year-old will remain a United player until the summer of 2023, although a further year is an option in the contract. It was suggested in the media that the player was demanding a huge pay rise in order to remain at the club.

Rashford has made 170 competitive appearances for United in the past four seasons, scoring a total of 45 goals. He has also made 32 appearances for England, playing 16 times for his country in 2018 alone, scoring seven goals in four years. To achieve this at his age is a good sign in the player’s development with surely more to come in the future.

Rashford is a player who has been heavily criticised by United supporters but this is not something new. The social media age has seen literally every United player criticised for various reasons – some of them cannot do anything right in some supporters eyes, always criticising them for something. I guess this is just going to happen even more.

The now 21-year-old emerged in the first team during the 2015/16 season, starting instead of Anthony Martial in a UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg match at Old Trafford, completing a brace 30 minutes into the second half, announcing himself on the world stage. United won the match 5-1. Days later, Rashford made his Premier League debut, scoring twice against Arsenal in a 3-2 victory at Old Trafford.

During the past season, which was the worst season post-Sir Alex Ferguson, Rashford made a total of 47 appearances, scoring 13 goals, assisting nine more, playing a total of 3,291 minutes of football. His best moment was stepping up to score a late VAR-awarded penalty in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match against Paris Saint-Germain, showing his confidence to beat Gianluigi Buffon and putting United into the quarter-final stage of the competition.

However, that is where United’s season started to falter, winning twice, drawing twice and losing eight of the 14 remaining matches which saw the season end. Rashford scored two more goals in those matches following the win in Paris. Under Ole Gunnar Solskjer, the 21-year-old became the clubs first choice striker, more often than not benching Romelu Lukaku, who also had a poor season at the club.

Rashford will be looking to get back into the swing of things ahead of the pre-season tour which will see United play matches in Australia, Singapore, China, Norway and Wales. The forward will be seeking to find some form ahead of the Premier League opener at Old Trafford against Chelsea, in which United will be seeking to start the new season in fine fettle, putting the disappointment of last season behind them. Speaking to the official Manchester United website about his new contract, Rashford said:

“Manchester United has been everything in my life since I arrived here at the age of seven. This club has shaped me, both as a player and as a person, so it is such a privilege every time I get the opportunity to wear the shirt.

“I want to thank Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] and his staff for everything they have done for me; they are the perfect group of coaches to learn from as I continue my development and look to push on to the next level.

“I will be giving everything I have to help get this club back to where it belongs and deliver the success that our fans deserve.”

Solskjaer will also be seeking some action from his squad this coming season. He has already made changes with Antonio Valencia and Ander Herrera having already left the club and Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka already arriving. During his first full season at the helm of the club, the manager will be wanting things to be so much different. Speaking about Rashford’s new contract, Solskjaer said:

“Marcus [Rashford] is one of the most talented English players of his generation. He is an outstanding player; blessed with natural pace and energy.

“Marcus is a shining example of the talent that our Academy produces and his upbringing means that he truly understands what it means to play for Manchester United.

“Despite being only 21 years old, Marcus already has great experience. He has a fantastic future ahead of him with the club and I am delighted that he has signed a new contract.”

Rashford seems to be confident that he can become the forward that United will need during the upcoming season. There is a chance that he could be the first choice striker once again with Lukaku still being linked to Inter Milan and with United linked to Wissam Ben Yedder of Sevilla. The fact that Rashford could be helped by the likes of Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, to name a few shows that this coming season could have many positives.

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