Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag believes that Marcus Rashford can retain starting role like Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay
Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag wants Marcus Rashford to follow the footsteps of Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay. Maguire and McTominay returned to the starting eleven after falling out of favour for a significant amount of time.
Ten Hag dropped Maguire in favour of the first-choice centre-back pairing of Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez last season. Furthermore, the Dutchman stripped Maguire of the captaincy during the summer, adding further embarrassment for the experienced defender.
However, Maguire fought back into the starting eleven this season despite rumours of exit during the summer. The 30-year-old rejected a transfer move to West Ham United and decided to make the most of his limited opportunity.
The England international returned to the first team after a long-term injury sidelining Martinez and nagging fitness concerns of Varane. Maguire has played a crucial role for United, winning Premier League Player of the Month for November in the process.
McTominay’s Revival Under Ten Hag
On the other hand, McTominay has solidified his starting place, currently the leading goal scorer for United in all competitions. Many clubs wanted the 26-year-old during the summer with the Red Devils willing to sell him at the right price.
However, the Scotsman decided to stay put and fight for his place despite facing strong competition this season. United signed Mason Mount and Sofyan Amrabat to bolster their midfield and help experienced midfielders Casemiro and Christian Eriksen. Ten Hag wanted the combination of quality on and off the ball combined with energy and a high work ethic.
However, Mount and Amrabat failed to make a significant impact while Eriksen and Casemiro’s age has regressed them physically. McTominay took his opportunity and moved up the pecking order, showing strong mental resilience and a desire to perform consistently.
Rashford’s challenge and Ten Hag’s expectations
“[It’s] what I said about Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire: up to them. The team will always line themselves up and the best players who form the best team will play. So Rashford is an incredibly good player. You can’t do it with 11 players – he can’t play every game. He’s not in this moment the form he was last year but I am sure he will get there.”
Rashford finished last season as United’s leading goal scorer but he has failed to take that form into this season. Furthermore, the 26-year-old faced backlash for his poor work ethic and inability to track back opposition.
The England international has a selfish streak in him that makes him one-dimensional at times. Rashford received criticism for his inability to provide assists to teammates, only opting to make goal scoring opportunities for himself.
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Rashford should take Ten Hag’s words constructively and work on his work ethic to bounce back into the team. The Englishman has all the talent in the world but his mindset is acting as a major barrier. At 26 years of age, Rashford is currently in the peak years of his career and need to make the most of it.