Ian Wright: Jose Mourinho has been playing Marcus Rashford wrong at Man United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright believes Jose Mourinho has been incorrectly using Marcus Rashford at Manchester United this season.

The 19-year-old announced himself to the footballing world in emphatic fashion under Louis van Gaal last season in the No.9 role, netting eight goals after making his debut in February.

Under Mourinho, however, Rashford has been primarily deployed as a winger, making just two appearances up front this season.

Wright, speaking after Man United’s 4-1 win over West Ham United on Wednesday night, criticised the 53-year-old for not giving the youngster more chances to impress up front.

“He isn’t overrated,” Wright said.

“What’s happening with Marcus Rashford at the moment is that he is somebody I’d like to see down the centre like Michael Owen when he hit the scene.

“He had goal-scoring ability and you didn’t see anyone put him out on the right. I’d like to see that happen with Marcus Rashford.

“He isn’t natural on the right. If he was playing down the centre, he’d be taking more chances and he would be playing as a straight up number nine.”

United’s 1-1 draw with Arsenal provided United fans with a glimpse of an alternative attacking approach from Mourinho’s men. With Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front, performances tend to revolve more around intricate inter-play, with the Swede acting as a springboard from which other players can work angles and break down the opposition.

With Zlatan suspended for the clash with Arsenal, Rashford received a chance at No.9, and the entire dynamic was different. Suddenly there was an emphasis on a quicker, more direct approach. The 19-year-old’s superb running power stretched Arsenal’s back four, giving United’s attacking trio license to burst forward and make the pitch big. It was an interesting – and indeed extremely encouraging – change of tack.

Such an approach undoubtedly comes in handy against quicker, more compact sides, and United fans will hope to see Mourinho utilise Rashford to similar effect as the season goes on.

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