Thursday, December 13, 2018

Manchester United Have a New Cristiano Ronaldo in Marcus Rashford

Milos Markovic in Editorial, English Premier League 12 Mar 2018

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Manchester United are coming off from a hugely successful weekend in the Premier League which saw them record a morale-boosting 2-0 win over their biggest rivals Liverpool.

The much criticized Red Devils hit the stage at Old Trafford against the in-form Liverpool in style thanks to a brace from young forward Marcus Rashford who once again displayed his vast talent and a big-match character despite enduring a difficult season under Jose Mourinho.

The 20-year-old England international has been an integral part of Jose Mourinho’s first team this season but has seen his playing time limited nevertheless. Having not always been used from the off, Marcus Rashford started his first Premier League game since Boxing Day and made sure to make his presence known with a man of the Match performance.

Personal Best

His stunning performance against Liverpool set a new personal best goal return at Manchester United, taking his tally to 12 goals across all competitions, thus bettering his previous record of 11 from the 2016/17 season.

It took Rashford 40 appearances for United to reach the 12-goal mark which is a significant improvement to 53 games and 11 goals from the previous season. Such a statistical insight sheds a different light on the apparent lack of opportunity and chance Rashford is being given by Jose Mourinho.

It’s also a clear sign of improvement for a boy of 20 who is going strong against huge competition within his own ranks – Anthony Martial and Alexis Sanchez for the most part – to gain minutes on the pitch.

“Right now, I’m probably not learning the most on the pitch. In training is where I’m doing most of my learning. You have to take it into the game and today [Saturday] it worked. Personally, taking the confidence from this game into the next games is important. There’s lots of things (I’m learning). It is just the all-round game is starting to become more clear. Things this manager wants are becoming more clear to me. The more you do, the easier the results come on the pitch.”, Rashford said after the Liverpool game.

Learning, Improving…

Rashford’s impressive performance against the Reds from Anfield has certainly boosted his chance of earning another starting spot against Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday, for which Manchester United are given 11/18 betting odds to win.

Rashford will not be frustrated if his manager chooses otherwise, however, as he accepted his role under Jose Mourinho this season. The Portuguese tactician was often criticised for not giving chance to youth players but McTominay, Lingard and Rashford are all clear counterarguments to popular belief.

And while Scot McTominay and Jesse Lingard offer a particular set of skills that perhaps fit into Jose Mourinho’s somewhat rigid style more adequately, Marcus Rashford is proving to be the WOW element and the dazzling factor Manchester United have not had in a long time.

At least not since Cristiano Ronaldo left the club.

With Marcus Rashford charging forward with confidence unlikely of a 20-year-old boy, it’s also his style of running with the ball and the power of movement that resembles the famed Portuguese winger-turned-forward.

From the first moment he was introduced into the Manchester United first-team fold, Marcus Rashford has displayed a sensational level of courage, confidence and nerve. Whether it’s when he rushes forward, tracks deep into his own half or stands up to players almost double his age to defend his teammates, there is something rather curious about Marcus Rashford that makes him just like Cristiano Ronaldo.

The first goal against Liverpool was just another proof of this claim.

The 20-year-old’s opening goal was pretty much the same one Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Dynamo Kiev in 2007. Rashford got in behind and in a one-vs-one situation against Trent Alexander-Arnold when he channelled his Cristiano Ronaldo self for a chip on the ball and a shift of balance to his favoured right foot, before rifling the ball into the corner.

New Ronaldo, Future Icon?

A quick couple of tip-toe steps to help his gain get the momentum and strength behind his shot were exactly the thing Cristiano Ronaldo does – and did with Dynamo Kiev – which was in this instance more than enough to get the Manchester United fans buzzing.

Versatility is another trait that makes Rashford Cristiano Ronaldo’s rightful heir at Old Trafford.

The Englishman is brilliantly skilled to adapt to any kind of situation or position, and to make the best of it – which his second goal is there to attest to.

There is no denying that Marcus Rashford is the future of Manchester United. Jose Mourinho’s notorious reputation stands as no obstacle for the youngster on his way to full prominence and it’s only a matter of time before the forward has got his first-team place at Old Trafford locked.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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