Seriously, just how damn good has Marcus Rashford been? As I write, here on February 27th of 2023, Rashford has 25 goals in all competitions for United. Specifically, Rashford has 14 goals in the Premier League and is on pace to score well over 20 league goals this season. I can’t even remember off the top of my head the last time Untied had a 20 plus goal scorer in the league. So, I had looked it up and it was Robin Van Persie back in the 2012/13 season, in which he scored 26 EPL goals. A full decade on since the clubs last 20 goal league scorer is just awful and not acceptable for a club like United.
With a league cup final now under United’s belt, Rashford and company will look to keep this run going. United are sitting just 8 points back form 1st place in the Premier League. This is the same season in which we saw United surrender 4 goals to Brentford in Matchday 2 of the season. Fans and pundits alike were also questioning weather or not Rashford would be capable of scoring all the goals for United. This season was bad for only 2 weeks. Since then, Eric ten Hag has this team and Rashford just humming along and firing on all cylinders.
From the Bottom
Marcus Rashford is the ‘come back player of the year’ already, if that were an award in the EPL. The United academy grad has always been adored by United fans but his past injury roes and inconsistent form over the last couple of seasons saw his confidence and the faith of fans drop substantially by the start of this season. Not all could be put on Rashford though, as he did play through injury constantly and the club was inconsistent all around him.
When Rashford broke through under Louis Van Gal it seemed he could only go up from there. And, for the most part, Rashford did continue to progress. But, then came in Mourinho. Under the Portuguese manager, Rashford was in and out of the team and always playing second fiddle to someone. Fortunately, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came to the rescue. Under the United legend, who scored the winner in the 1999 UCL final, he revitalized Rashford’s career. In his first full season in charge, Solskjaer oversaw a year in which Rashford would score 17 goals and have 7 assists. Unfortunately, Rashford also suffered an injury that season.
Rashford had seemed to be in the midst of a true breakout season in 2019-20. There was an amazing free kick in a league cup win over Chelsea that made it appear as if Rashford was taking the mantle as this team’s talisman. But, his injury that season was just the beginning of an uphill battle against many more to come and they would linger. However, Rashford did go on to score 11 EPL goals with 9 assists in the 2020-21 season. Although, it never did feel as if he was at the same level as before his injury in the 2019-20 season.
Things even got personal
Then to make matters even tougher on the Manchester kid, he went to a Euros with England in which he rarely saw the pitch. But, Rashford was brought on for penalty kicks and proceeded to miss his penalty. This led to a bout of racial abuse towards Marcus Rashford.
Finally in the 2021-22 season Rashford was forced to concede any and all progress to Cristiano Ronaldo. This was Rashford’s worst season as a United player and one of United’s worst seasons as a club. By the start of the pre season for the 2022-23 season it seemed as if Rashford and United were at an all time low.
United fans never stopped backing their club though, or Rashford. In fact, after the racial abuse he suffered following the Euros in the summer of 2021, fans made a mural for Rashford and sent him messages of love and support. Things were low but Rashford is a Mancunian and the fans would always back him.
The start of the 2022-23 season was full of questions for Marcus Rashford and the arrival of yet another manager. This was a chance for redemption though, under a new boss Rashford could aim to make a fresh start. There was still the Ronaldo problem though, but Eric ten Hag made it very clear from the get go that Rashford was in his plans. No one would play second fiddle to anyone at the club. After a dismal start to the campaign, Eric ten Hag dropped Ronaldo and other big name players.
Matchday 3 of the season and Rashford was starting at number 9 against Liverpool. Jadon Sancho would open the scoring that day but Rashford doubled the lead in the second half. Little did any fan or pundit know, but this was the just the beginning of the rise of Marcus Rashford. By the time of the World Cup break in November Rashford had 8 goals, 3 assists and Cristiano Ronaldo was officially out of the club. Following the World Cup it was clear Rashford was the sole talisman up front for this team. The rejuvenated Rashford would then go on a run of 17 goals in 18 matches, breaking Ronaldo’s goal scoring total for all the 2021-22 campaign and it’s only February.
This great run of form though looked as if it might stall when United played Wolves at the end of December. Rashford had arrived late to training and in response Eric ten Hag benched his star man. This was a bold move from the manager but he did what needed to be done. Just as Sir Alex Ferguson had said, ‘no player is bigger than the club’ and Eric ten Hag reiterated that. Everyone at the club is expected to be there for the club and each other, not themselves. The way Eric ten Hag handled the Ronaldo situation and Rashford was absolutely brilliant. Rashford handled it well too, he started on the bench against Wolves and came on to score the winner as a sub. After the match Eric ten Hag and Rashford walked off the pitch together, smiling.
The run of goals after the World Cup break is astonishing in itself but its not just the goals. Rashford is passing the eye test with flying colors. He’s looked a confident man capable of doing whatever he desires in a match. He’s been scoring goals in a variety of ways, including headers that remind me of prime Ronaldo. Rashford has even looked as if he’s gained a step. Clearly Rashford has benefited form Eric ten Hag and the team getting better and better each week but this player has always been there. Injury’s, constant manager rotation, racial abuse and a chaotic dressing room just slowed his progress.
Marcus Rashford is finally back on top and his confidence is at an all time high. There is a lot of season yet to be played and 3 more trophies up for grabs. Perhaps players can only maintain personal runs like this for so long. But, Rashford has given the world 0 reasons to doubt him.
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