Marcus Rashford needs two things from Manchester United to flicker back to form

Marcus Rashford is enduring an indifferent season for Manchester United, playing just 1,459 minutes of football and dropping out of favor with interim manager Ralf Rangnick. When the German arrived at the club in December, Rashford started his first three Premier League games in charge, before dropping to the bench for the following five.

That isn’t to say that the England international didn’t make an impact as a substitute. In January, Rashford scored two goals off the bench in just four days — a late goal against Brentford and an injury-time winner at Old Trafford against West Ham.

But since that vital goal against United’s top-four rivals, Rashford has been in and out of the United team and has rarely produced when given a chance. The emergence of Swedish youngster Anthony Elanga this season has impacted on Rashford’s game time.

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Much has been made of the 24-year-old’s dip in form this season, so much so that Rangnick publicly backed the forward before the Manchester Derby at the beginning of March. On Rashford, he said: “He’s got abundant talent, he’s got the pace, the physicality. He’s got everything you need for a modern striker, not only if he is playing from the wing or in the centre.

“I will put all my energy in to help him to take the same pathway that other players did in the last three months.”

Rashford was a substitute for last week’s 1-1 draw with Leicester but was back in United’s starting XI for the trip to Everton on Saturday. And from the off, the England international looked dangerous.

Rashford had an early effort parried by Jordan Pickford, before the England goalkeeper again denied the attacker when he repelled his goalward header. This energetic and positive start brought back memories of the fearless teenage forward who broke into United’s first team and scored a brace against Arsenal on his Premier League debut in 2016.

While he didn’t get on the scoresheet, Rashford was undoubtedly United’s biggest threat at Goodison, leaving many United fans bemused when Rangnick opted to replace the attacker in the second half. Rashford had sprung a handful of threatening counter-attacks and looked to be somewhere near his better form once again.

Rangnick could get Marcus Rashford firing again with a slight formation tweak

Perhaps the reason for Rashford’s improvement on Merseyside was his return to a more favored left-winger position. This season he has often had to play on the right to accommodate Jadon Sancho.

The two seasons prior to the current campaign were Rashford’s most prolific in a United shirt; he scored 43 goals and provided 27 assists in 101 appearances in all competitions. Of these 101 matches, he played 67 of them in his preferred position on the left side of attack.

As United prepare to face Norwich at Old Trafford on Saturday, Rangnick may opt to start Rashford in consecutive Premier League fixtures for the first time since February. On the evidence of Saturday’s first half at Everton, the England international will feel he has made enough of an impression to warrant his manager’s faith in him.

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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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