Cristiano Ronaldo exit seen as reason for Marcus Rashford resurgence at Manchester United
The Portugal international left the club in November, midway through the season. He was not the first name on the team sheet under the new regime. Subsequently, the 38-year-old joined Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Nassr.
However, with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s untimely exit, Rashford has stepped up to the plate. The England international has shouldered the burden of the Red Devils’ attack in the current campaign.
Speaking to BBC Sport (h/t Daily Mail), Crooks, who spent some time on loan at United as well, is of the opinion that Ronaldo was an issue for the club and that Rashford has improved since the Portuguese has moved on.
“I think it’s very telling that Manchester United’s results have continually improved since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo – and so has Rashford’s presence in the team.
“Rashford no longer has to play second fiddle to a player desperate to hang on to former glories, who has far more interest in himself than the team. The problem has been removed.”
The 25-year-old struggled to make an impact last season. Coincidently, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner was signed by the Red Devils in the summer of 2022.
While the 38-year-old had a good campaign on an individual level, the rest of the players were underwhelming. As a result, both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick had a hard time in the Old Trafford side’s dugout.
Thankfully, the arrival of Erik ten Hag has steadied the ship at United. The Dutch manager’s appointment saw Ronaldo’s influence in the team dwindle.
Rashford, along with Anthony Martial and Antony, were the gaffer’s preferred attack even when the Portuguese superstar was around. And the Red Devils’ academy graduate has repaid the former Ajax head coach’s faith.
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This season, the England international is the Old Trafford side’s leading goalscorer, having found the back of the net 21 times in all competitions. Hopefully, the 25-year-old will be able to continue to put in clutch performances for the foreseeable future.