Wayne Rooney believes Marcus Rashford has rediscovered the directness, aggression and ruthlessness in front of goal that made him so dangerous when he initially broke through at Manchester United.
Rashford has already enjoyed a record-breaking season at United, scoring 24 more goals than he managed in any other season within three months. And that form has intensified enormously since his return from World Cup action, with 16 goals in 18 games more than anyone else in Europe’s top five leagues.
With each of those 24 goals, the striker’s confidence has grown to the point that he is now one of the most decisive players in the world, and former United and England teammate Rooney has praised the 25-year-old star.
Read more: Marcus Rashford on United form and Erik ten Hag’s impact
“He’s doing fantastic,” Rooney told ESPN of Rashford. “He’s a great player, and he’s shown it at the beginning of his career. He’s had a bit of a downturn in the last two seasons, so it’s important to get back to it, to get back to his strengths: being direct, being aggressive, having confidence.” . in front of goal, and I felt like he didn’t have confidence for a while really, but this season he’s back to his best.”
A huge factor in Rashford’s form this season has been the arrival of Erik ten Hag, with the Dutchman urging his forward to start enjoying his football again and reaping the rewards ever since. The United boss has overseen a seismic transformation since he arrived last summer, with his team establishing itself in the top three of the Premier League and in the latter stages of domestic and European cups.
On Sunday, the Reds have a chance to grab their first piece of silverware since 2017 when they take on Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup final. And Rooney knows that Ten Hag’s impact on culture and mindset has made all the difference.
“It’s what Manchester United needed for a few years,” Rooney said. “I’ve been to the training camp a few times, especially in the (MLS) off-season when I was back home in England, and I talked to some of the players. I know the players enjoy working with him, which he always is. important, but demands a lot from his players.
“I think it changed the mindset and the confidence and belief of the players, that they’re actually a good team, and I think people are starting to see that this season, and they’re in a good position. It’s five points out of first since you know there are still a lot of games left so you never know.
“I think it’s important for any manager to create a good atmosphere. Sometimes it’s harder than it seems. I think Ten Hag has managed to keep all the players engaged, and the players coming off the bench are also having an impact.” . so the culture and character that he’s passing on to the players is what’s been needed for a while.”