Marcus Rashford can do “much, much more” and still has plenty of scope to mature into a better player, Manchester United team-mate Nemanja Matic says.
Rashford has scored 14 goals for United in all competitions in 2019-20, which is already his best return for a whole season in senior football.
The 22-year-old has emerged as something of a leader in manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s young side and has been a consistent performer amid a hugely up-and-down few months for the team at Old Trafford.
Matic, though, thinks Rashford can still become a much better player, provided he is given time to develop.
“Marcus has great potential,” he told Omnisport. “He’s a great guy also off the pitch, but I think he hasn’t used all his qualities yet. He needs to mature more and I can say every year, every month, he’s getting better and better.
“I think in the future, in the next two or three years, he will show what he can really achieve because he can do much, much more in my opinion. But he’s still young. We can’t expect him to play 40 games at the same level because he’s still young, still learning, he’s still developing his body, his mentality.
“He can be one of the best strikers in the world, for sure.”
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) December 21, 2019
United have mostly performed well against stronger opponents this season, beating Tottenham and Manchester City this month, but Sunday’s 2-0 loss to bottom-of-the-table Watford underlined their struggles against the Premier League’s so-called lesser lights.
Matic thinks the playing field has mostly levelled in England’s top flight, though, given the amount of funds at the disposal of the clubs.
“I think every year the Premier League improves,” he said. “Top-six teams have always been top six and they always play good football. They always had the best players but, over the last 10 years in the Premier League, I think the small clubs have improved a lot.
“They’ve started to invest more. Even the clubs who fight to stay in the league, they can buy players for 30, 40million. I think the standards in the Premier League are higher and that’s why the big teams find it very hard now to win. I think this is good for football, good for the Premier League and I think in the future it will be even harder for the top teams.”
Former United stars have been quick to criticise the current team when on duty as television pundits, something Matic thinks can be unfair at times when it is focused on the younger players.
“I think it’s their job if they go on television, it’s their job to say something,” he said. “Sometimes they say the truth, probably; sometimes they criticise the younger players, which isn’t good, in my opinion, especially if you’re an ex-player of Manchester United and you criticise the players and you know you’ve been there 10, 15, 20 years ago.
“You have to help the players if you can. But they probably get money to work there and they have to say something. To be honest, I don’t watch that much, when I see some clips or something, yeah, but I know what my job is and for me, the most important opinion is my coach, my club. If they’re happy with my work, that’s it.”
Matic has watched former Chelsea team-mate Frank Lampard enjoy an encouraging first season as Chelsea head coach, and the Serbia international is thrilled to see him making the most of a challenging role.
“I’m very happy because I saw Lampard, I saw Petr Cech is back at the club and I think it’s very important for Chelsea because they know what Chelsea is, they have experience in football, and I’m happy that they are there,” Matic added.
“I’m sure they can help the team and if you speak about Frank, I played with him, and he’s great, a great person, he was amazing as a player, as you know, and I’m sure that he will improve Chelsea and he will do great. I wish him all the best.”
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