Manchester United

Manchester United

Premier League • England

Ten Hag reveals how he turned Man Utd duo into deadly pairing, as ‘breakout’ star is labelled ‘very special’ by Arsenal great

Man Utd attackers Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford

Former Arsenal great Robin van Persie labelled a ‘breakout’ Man Utd star “one to watch” and “very special”, while Erik ten Hag admitted he’s gone above and beyond to help Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford become a deadly duo.

Van Persie became a title-winner with Man Utd during his three-year stint at Old Trafford between 2012-15. However, it was in the capital where he truly cemented his reputation as one of the world’s great strikers of his time.

Van Persie was named Arsenal’s Player of the Season in the 2008/09 and 2011/12 campaigns. He notched just under one goal in two while with the Gunners and but for a series of injury issues, would’ve scored far more than his final tally of 132 goals for Arsenal.

Van Persie – who is the Netherlands’ all-time leading scorer at international level with 50 goals – recently engaged in a sit-down interview with Erik ten Hag.

The pair took a tour around Man Utd’s Carrington training complex, though the main event was a one-on-one interview between the Dutchmen.

Via BT Sport, Van Persie spoke highly of the understanding forged between Bruno Fernandes and Marcus Rashford this season.

His meltdown against Liverpool aside, Fernandes has looked back to his busy best this year and is second to only Kevin de Bruyne in the big chances created metric this term.

Many of the opportunities he’s crafted have fallen to Rashford who is in the midst of the finest season of his career. Indeed, his mark of 27 goals has already surpassed his previously single-season high for goals (22 in 2019/20).

When Van Persie asked if Ten Hag has placed greater emphasis on those two players forging an understanding in training, the United boss admitted: “Yes, you have to find out where the connections are.

“Once you feel that players have a connection with each other you can improve it.

“Not by focussing every day on it, but by simply putting them together together in [training] drills and showing them video clips of how they can benefit from each other.”

Clearly, the extra work Ten Hag has tasked the pair with undertaking is paying dividends.

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Van Persie wowed by Man Utd breakout star

Elsewhere, Van Persie waxed lyrical about the player the Manchester Evening News term United’s ‘breakout’ star this season – Alejandro Garnacho.

The Argentine winger has already racked up nine goal contributions in just 1,064 minutes of action this year. That equates to a goal contribution roughly every 118 minutes.

“Garnacho is one to watch,” said Van Persie. “You know he is still very young, a very talented player.

“If you look how he handles difficult situations, how he handles pressure, how he creates, for his age especially, it is very special.”

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Finally, Van Persie heaped praise on fellow Dutchman and former Feyenoord teammate, Tyrell Malacia.

The left-back has provided stiff competition for Luke Shaw since arriving for an initial £13m and in Van Persie’s eyes, is proving himself a great example future recruits can learn from.

“Tyrell Malacia, I used to play with him at Feyenoord and I’m really proud of him,” he added.

“The way he does it, the way he plays, it’s a great example for young talents.”