In some ways, the Englishman is even more remarkable!
New club leader right now. What did ten Hag change in his game?
Marcus Rashford is Manchester United's biggest star right now. Since the 2022 World Cup, the striker has scored six games in a row and became the club's first player in 13 years to score in eight home games. Rushford's rapid progress is linked to the arrival of Erik ten Hag at Manchester United. The Dutch coach has long and gradually brought the attacker to the best form and now enjoys his productivity on the field.
How Erik ten Hag turned Marcus Rashford into a Manchester United leader
After Euro 2020, Rashford regressed. He did not make a single effective action at the European Championships, and in the final, with Italy, he missed in the penalty shootout. At the start of the 2021/2022 season, the striker missed three months due to a shoulder injury, and during the draw, he was thrown out of the squad twice more due to a hip bruise and bronchitis. The season was predictably blurry: 32 matches in all competitions and only five goals.
Everything changed in the summer when Erik ten Hag took over Manchester United. Before the second round of the Premier League, amid rumors about the transfer of the striker to PSG, the head coach said that the Englishman would remain at Manchester United. And ten days later, on August 3, Rashford scored for the first time since January, and immediately the winning goal against Liverpool! Here is what the forward said at the end of October about his problems.
"For a while, I struggled with mental problems. They arose not because
of my game but because of things that happened off the field. I
understand that the job of journalists is to talk about what is
happening on the field, but the players need to tune in properly and
clear their heads off unnecessary worries before each match. I didn't
get it very often last season." (c) Marcus Rashford.
In addition, the striker shared the details of his work with Manchester United head coach ten Hag:
"He wants me to be in the right zones, score goals, press in high
positions on the pitch. These are the details that I keep working on,
and I do not stop there. Even if you are not having the best days, you
should stick to these principles and use them as a basis for doing
your job well. Opening up in the zones is one thing, but technique and
hitting the ball with the header is what I've been working on, so it's
nice to score a couple of goals."
Before the World Cup, Rashford scored eight goals and provided three assists for Manchester United this season. His distinctive form helped Gareth Southgate in the England team to some extent: the forward scored a goal with Iran and a double with Wales, although he received only 137 minutes in five matches.
After what he saw at the 2022 World Cup, ten Hag is optimistic about Rashford: "I don't want to be tied to any specific figure. I think Rashford can score 20 goals in the Premier League this season. He scored three goals in the 2022 World Cup for England, so we understand he has the prospect of showing good numbers in the national championship. We lost a striker during the season and need to replace him. Rashford should be the one who brings quality to the team, not just expands the squad. The demands at Manchester United are high."
At the same time, the main thing for ten Hag in the team is discipline. Despite the striker's performance, he left him in reserve for the match against Wolverhampton. The day before, the striker overslept and was late for the meeting, for which he immediately paid the price. Since the World Cup, Marcus has had seven goals and three assists in six games for Manchester United. But performance is not the main thing for which ten Hag appreciates him. The coach has repeatedly said that he needs a dynamic, actively pressing player in attack. That is why he released Rashford against Tottenham and not Ronaldo.
In 25 games under Erik ten Hague, Rashford scored 15 goals and provided six assists. The forward did not develop such performance under any coach. For example, with Ralph Rangnick, the Englishman scored only two goals in 22 games. Most importantly, Rashford's actions are bringing results to Manchester United, and he is pleased with this: "I don't know if I have ever played so well before, but now I am enjoying what is happening. We have become much more likely to win. Our level has become much higher. Satisfied with the way we are developing. I hope we can continue to play the same way in the future. We have a completely different way of thinking compared to last season. This is a completely different team playing different football. I enjoy what I do."