Marcus Rashford is expecting a quick and obvious change in identity at Manchester United under the reign of Erik ten Hag.
Ten Hag has taken over the reins from Ralf Rangnick after a season of disappointment at Old Trafford. The German coach could not turn around the club’s fortunes and he has since walked away from the consultancy role at United that he was primed to step into.
In fact Rangnick guided Manchester United to their worst season in the Premier League era, as they finished the campaign in sixth place. And Ten Hag has plenty to do to get the club back into Champions League contention.
The former Ajax man will be looking to import a style of play and restore confidence to a squad that looked drained.
“At the beginning of pre-season, you want to get your fitness levels up,” said Rashford, via Metro. “[You want to] get back to what it’s like to play in the Premier League.
“When a team changes its identity and changes the purpose of the football, it’ll be quite obvious to see. I think you’ll be able to see it.”
United are preparing for a pre-season tour of Thailand, where they play Liverpool in Bangkok on July 12. They will then head to Australia for matches in Melbourne and Perth against Crystal Palace, Melbourne Victory and Aston Villa.
“We all enjoy getting away and spending that time together,” added Rashford. “Being away from home for so long, it’s [the team is] like your little family.
“It’s going to be a nice feeling. We’ve not been able to travel because of Covid, and it’s something that we’ve missed.
“It’s always a big part of our pre-season so it’s exciting to be able to go to those places again.”
Rashford will be hoping to hit the ground running in pre-season after a season to forget last term.
The 24-year-old lost his place in the England squad after scoring just four goals in 25 Premier League games. He alarmingly made just 13 starts in the league after missing the start of the campaign after shoulder surgery.
His season also ended on the sidelines after falling ill with bronchitis.
Rashford will be hoping for a clean slate under Ten Hag and his backroom team.
‘Rashford doesn’t fight through bad moments’
Ten Hag has drafted in former England boss Steve McClaren as one of his assistant coaches and McClaren is well aware of Rashford’s shortcomings.
During Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa at the start of the year, McClaren told talkSPORT: “I hate that attitude. Rashford has probably always had this problem in terms of questioning his attitude.
“He doesn’t fight through bad moments. He doesn’t stay in the game.
“If he’s not having a good first half, he’ll never have a good second half. I just look at him and think that boy needs help, off the field and through the manager.
“Somebody needs to give him the tools to come out of the bad times because he doesn’t know how to and stays in it. It’s a cloud above the head or even in the head that he can’t get out of.”
McClaren is adamant that Rashford needs supporting and he has been a big advocate of sport psychology in the past.
“He’s got the talent and the ability. There’s that one cornerstone which we call mentality, attitude, which he hasn’t grasped yet,” added McClaren.