Man Utd star has ‘every attribute’ as pundit claims U-turn complete after masterful performances
Noel Whelan says Marcus Rashford has turned his Manchester United form and will now be demanding an England World Cup place.
The 24-year-old has proved a talisman for the Red Devils for a number of seasons, but hit a bump last term. Following penalty disappointment in the Euro 2020 final, he underwent shoulder surgery.
However, he did not return the same player and Man Utd’s on-pitch struggles failed to give him enough bounce to improve his form.
Since Erik ten Hag replaced Ralf Rangnick as manager, though, United have seen Rashford back to his best.
He has netted five goals and assisted three others in nine games this campaign. And he thought he had added another in Sunday’s Premier League win over Everton, but for a handball decision.
Rashford’s upturn in form comes amid the backdrop of his struggles to get back in the England side. However, former Leeds United star Whelan has insisted that Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate must be watching the striker closely again.
“You can’t ignore it if you’re Gareth Southgate,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“He can play through the middle and on the wing, as well, so he’d be covering two bases.
“He’s found his form, his touch, his goalscoring ability again – it’s always been there, but it had gone a bit stale for him.
“He was cutting a frustrated figure, but it looks like he’s found that love for the game again and believes in his ability again.”
Whelan added that Rashford will no doubt look to carry his momentum on until the World Cup to truly stamp his mark on Southgate’s England thinking.
Rashford could continue electric form
“When strikers start scoring every week, sometimes you can’t stop and that’s exactly what Southgate and Ten Hag would want from him,” the pundit said.
“It’s what England need coming into a World Cup. He’s got every attribute to be one of the stars of the tournament.”
There has always been a debate about Rashford and where he plays best.
Previous United managers have deployed the attacker out wide, but he is benefitting from a more direct role under Ten Hag.
And Southgate will no doubt be thinking of where Rashford fits best to determine whether to take him to Qatar.
There are places up for grabs, with Jarrod Bowen and Ivan Toney called up recently but not guaranteed to keep their places in England’s attacking ranks.
Man Utd man knows his job
Rashford knows his task is simple and clear: he has to continue doing what he is doing and he will surely make the World Cup squad.
As much as Southgate likes to experiment with new players such as Bowen and Toney, he also picks on form and experience.
And there is arguably no-one better to be Harry Kane’s striker deputy for the Three Lions than Rashford when he is in top form.
There is also the question of whether Southgate sees Rashford playing out wide, but he has shown this season he is clearly better running at goal as a proper striker.
Elsewhere at Man Utd, questions remain about whether Jadon Sancho – who made England’s Euro 2020 squad alongside Rashford – also makes the World Cup squad.
As it stands, Rashford looks more likely to be in Southgate’s final squad than Sancho.
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