Dr. Marcus Rashford MBE. For somebody so young to boast such a title speaks volumes. Over the last 18 months Rashford’s work off the pitch has been nothing short of incredible. But as the forward’s return to the pitch beckons, the National hero has new obstacles to surmount according to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Rashford’s surgery in the summer following Euro 2020 is the reason for his absence in the beginnings of this season. On the pitch, he’s missed a lot, including his idol Cristiano Ronaldo’s rampant return to Old Trafford. However, many fans will argue that Manchester United have missed Marcus Rashford a whole lot more. Despite his obvious physical ailments over the past two seasons, United’s number 10 has still managed to come up with the goods. Just last season alone he became the first player since Wayne Rooney in 2010 to manage 20 goals in consecutive seasons for the Reds.Embed from Getty Images
The forward just has something that is best described as the “X-Factor”. At full flight Rashford undoubtedly has the ability to decide games with his tremendous pace which is matched with a vast treasure trove of tricks that sees him glide past opponents effortlessly. A lot has been made of the fact that United can now brag about having a fine array of forwards, but none can match the elegant velocity Rashford possesses, making him that something different.
However, despite the glimpses, the goal-scoring and the tricks, Rashford hasn’t seemed himself for a long while, a lot of that can be attributed to the injuries, but also the fact that he hasn’t had a rest. Since crashing onto the scene in 2016, we haven’t really seen a prolonged period of rest for Rashford. Whether he’s playing through injuries or on international tournaments with England, Rashford hasn’t reaped the benefits of a break. That’s now changed.
Solskjaer told press: “He is coming into the best age for a footballer and he’s got a challenge on his hands here at Manchester United – and has a challenge on his hands to play for England.”Embed from Getty Images
“Marcus has done some remarkable and fantastic things, But now he maybe needs to prioritise his football.” added the Norwegian.
Solskjaer’s sentiment here can be construed as a harsh one but you can’t help but disagree. United’s strength in forward areas is only going to grow as Amad returns to fitness and even Anthony Elenga’s form for the U23s merits some first-team consideration. Rashford will slowly find that he isn’t the shoo-in he once was in United’s attack.
For his National side, the emergence of the likes of Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and Jack Grealish has meant in his absence, England doesn’t necessarily miss him. The Three Lions’ lack of immediate need for Rashford was demonstrated at the Euros as England reached a final with him as a bit-part player. That had to play on the mind of the 23-year-old who has mentioned his love of representing his country on a number of occasions.
The truth is Rashford faces a huge season ahead of him, turning 24 soon, he is rapidly approaching an age where consistency, as well as reliability, will be expected of him, it’s up to Rashford himself to rise to the challenge.