Marcus Rashford has explained how Jose Mourinho has improved him at Manchester United this season, making note of a greater capacity for executing a wider range of skills on the pitch since the Portuguese’s arrival.
The 19-year-old announced himself to the world in emphatic fashion under former manager Louis van Gaal, claiming four goals in his opening two games before earning a place in the England squad ahead of Euro 2016.
He has continued to demonstrate his raw brilliance under Mourinho this season with a series of powerful performances on the flank.
And Rashford, speaking earlier this week, shed light on how his game has developed since the 54-year-old’s introduction over the summer.
“My all-round game has improved so much over the last year,” he said.
“I’m doing things that I knew I could always do but wasn’t doing when I was younger. Being able to do it on the pitch and show it to people is a good feeling to have.
“The people closest to me understand what I mean when I say: ‘I used to think a lot of things but not be able to do it on the pitch when I was younger.’ I’m able to do it now and the manager has helped me a lot with that. I’m thankful.”
Rashford has highlighted a poignant issue that plagues not just developing talents at the highest level but indeed anybody embarking on something new: that psychological barrier between knowledge of a particular skill and the capacity to actually carry it out in practice. But this does not apply to football alone.
The chasm between theory and praxis can hamper any of us: cooking a steak, for example, looks easy, and I could spend hours watching others doing it well, only to then produce a monstrosity when finally doing it myself.
But Mourinho, through his regular use of Rashford in a variety of roles this year, has ensured that the youngster continues to grow in confidence, learn from mistakes and further hone his unquestionable talent. Supporters will hope to see more of the same as the season approaches its climax.