Cristiano Ronaldo could provide the solution to Marcus Rashford’s problems at Manchester United – James Findlater

Marcus Rashford is in serious need of some guidance.

The Manchester United forward should be enjoying some of the best years of his career right now. Having burst onto the scene at a young age, the 24-year-old is still a few years off what should be his peak period, and yet his progression appears to have stalled.

The lazy viewpoint would be to blame his off-field endeavors for his decline on the pitch, but that is unlikely to be the case. That being said, his performances certainly have not been up to standard over the past year.

And with the emergence of Anthony Elanga, and Jadon Sancho starting to show why United spent big money to bring him in from Borussia Dortmund, Rashford could – and probably should – be in danger of dropping down the pecking order.

Should his path into the team out wide be closed off, there is just one option left open to him, and it’s one that he’s been keen to follow.

Doubts have been raised in the past about Rashford playing in a more central role, and experiments with him playing as a number nine have failed in the past, but it could prove to be a viable avenue for him in the future.

Of course, United already have a fairly big name in that position in Cristiano Ronaldo, and the Portuguese ace has already suggested he has another four or five years left in him.

But with that claim comes an admission that, at 37, he will need to adapt his role in the side.

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“You have to be intelligent and know that at 18, 20 or 25 you are not the same as at 35,” Ronaldo told DAZN.

“And that is the maturity, the experience, the intelligence to understand that maybe you lose some things to win others and have balance, right to keep competing and be at the highest level.

“That’s why I’m very happy with my form. I’m still scoring goals, helping people, teams, both in the national team and at Manchester United and that’s why I want to continue like this.”

That admission should come as encouragement to Rashford and could well be the key to him getting his mojo back.

Marcus Rashford's performances have been a concern for Manchester United this season
Marcus Rashford’s performances have been a concern for Manchester United this season

If the England international is to make the transition into a more central role then he couldn’t have a finer mentor than Ronaldo, who has made the switch from out wide better than anyone else in world football.

The academy graduate has expressed some doubts about moving more centrally again, having done so during his days in the youth teams, feeling that he will see more of the ball out wide.

But one look at the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea should allay those fears, with all three teams practically doing away with your regular number nines and getting them more involved in their build-up.

Rashford’s form is clearly becoming a concern for interim manager Ralf Rangnick, and the German will be keen to find the answer before a new permanent boss arrives in the summer.

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“Right now, he is trying to find his best possible shape and performance and we just try to give him helping hands with everything we can,” Rangnick explained ahead of the game against Watford.

“We show him video footage, we speak with him regularly, in training he is in top form. That is why I decided to play him. Now it’s about having that transformation from training performance to the competition in the league and this is the next step he has to take.”

If Ronaldo is willing to stay at Old Trafford and guide whoever it is that will eventually replace him as United’s number nine, then the club could already have the solution to Rashford’s issues.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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