Marcus Rashford improved but renaissance won't happen overnight

Marcus Rashford’s renaissance won’t happen overnight but he delivered an improved performance as pedestrian Man United earned a much-needed win over Luton… though goals for England will boost his confidence

  • Manchester United beat 1-0 Luton as Marcus Rashford delivered a good display
  • The forward may now be able to boost his confidence by scoring with England 
  • Man Utd are NOT good enough to have a ball-playing keeper – It’s All Coming Up 

Anyone who witnessed Marcus Rashford’s two-goal Premier League debut for Manchester United against Arsenal at Old Trafford in February 2016 could tell we were seeing the start of something special.

A hometown boy schooled in the ways of United’s academy graduating as a first-team player, and in some style too. Seven-and-a-half years later, Rashford is a fully-fledged United star with all the trappings of fame.

The trajectory of his career has continued on an upward curve, but there have been some significant periods when it has at the very least plateaued.

So it was that he made his 250th Premier League appearance against Luton Town in one of those slumps. 

Rashford became the youngest United player to reach that landmark at the age of 26 and 11 days, eclipsing Ryan Giggs by 156 days – although it is only fair to point out that Giggs played a substantial number of games in the old First Division before the dawn of the Premier League.

Marcus Rashford delivered an improved showing as Manchester United beat Luton 1-0

Currently in a slump, the forward entered the game on a low after his midweek sending off

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Rashford came into the game on a low following his red card in Copenhagen in midweek, and with plenty of room for improvement after scoring just once in 15 games this season.

It was a point acknowledged by manager Erik ten Hag in his pre-match press conference on Friday. ‘I think he is not happy and we are not happy,’ said the United manager. 

‘He has high expectations for himself and in this moment he is not in his best form. I know he will be back and when the team is playing better, he will play better and score goals. I am confident in that.

‘He will improve and score goals this season. He is totally aware of everything, so he will be back on track.’

That’s easier said than done in a team low on confidence after nine defeats in 17 games this season before kick-off. Rashford’s renaissance won’t happen overnight.

To be fair, he was at the heart of most of United’s best moments in a laboured 1-0 win over Luton, but that isn’t saying much. Ten Hag’s side were predictable and pedestrian, relying on an unlikely source in Victor Lindelof for their winning goal.

Rashford had a hand in creating it just before the hour mark. He had switched back to the right flank after briefly swapping with Alejandro Garnacho at the start of the second half when Bruno Fernandes’ corner was cleared to the edge of the box. 

Mason Mount fed the ball to Rashford who drilled in a cross-shot and it was deflected to Lindelof who converted from close-range.

Erik ten Hag has admitted both he and Rashford are not content with his form this season

The Swede had played alongside Harry Maguire because he is more comfortable on his left foot than Raphael Varane, but here he was scoring a crucial goal with his right.

Rashford had the best opportunity to add to United’s lead when Garnacho’s replacement Antony played him in after 69 minutes, but Rashford’s shot straight at goalkeeper Thomas Kaminiski belied his lack of confidence at the moment.

Rashford prefers to play off the left wing so he can cut inside, but deploying him on the right means he can cross with his stronger foot and it almost paid off twice in the first half.

First, he collected a pass down the line from Harry Maguire in the 10th minute and pinged in a cross which took a nick off Gabe Osho and found Rasmus Hojlund who couldn’t beat Kaminiski with an effort off his thigh. 

Rashford had a hand in United’s breakthrough and his confidence will be boosted by goals

Then, just after the half hour mark, Fernandes played a corner to the back post where Rashford volley it first-time back across goal. The ball hit Osho and went out for another corner, but it could have gone anywhere.

He was still going deep into injury-time when a promising run to the edge of the Luton box was ended by a clumsy challenge from Tom Lockyer which earned the visitors’ captain a deserved booking.

So a much-needed win for United and an improved performance from Rashford. He now heads off on international duty having scored on his last England appearance against Italy last month.

There are tougher fixtures in world football than Malta and North Macedonia. Hopefully, Rashford can get another couple of goals to boost his confidence.


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