Jose Mourinho has hinted towards Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning to the starting XI for Manchester United’s second leg clash with Anderlecht in the Europa League in spite of Marcus Rashford‘s sensational performance against Chelsea last weekend.
Rashford was handed a rare chance to feature in the No.9 role against the league leaders after it was confirmed by Mourinho that Zlatan, following his exertions against Anderlecht, was jaded.
And the teenager took his chance brilliantly, complimenting a superb, effervescent performance with his ninth goal of the season after just seven minutes.
But Mourinho, when asked about whether Zlatan would be reintroduced against Anderlecht, confirmed that the Swede would feature whilst hinting towards the 19-year-old moving back out to the wing.
“I had the same question during some flash interview downstairs,” he said.
“I think Rashford is the third or the fourth player with more minutes on the pitch. And when everybody was trying to guess that a young player would have a difficulty for me, he’s the third or the fourth, he’s always on the pitch. He plays every game and if he didn’t play [it’s] a maximum couple of matches.
“He is always on the pitch, on the right, on the left, in the centre with one striker or two strikers, so I think for his education, for his tactical education this season is a phenomenal season for him, with an amazing range of different experiences.
“He’s not scoring enough goals, he’s missing a bit and he had an opportunity and he didn’t score and he looks like he was not very confident but the kid played very well and again, great experience to play well against such a team like Chelsea.”
Sunday’s demolition of Chelsea would have planted a seed of thought in Mourinho’s head. Rashford demonstrated to the Portuguese – and indeed the watching world – that, used in a central role, he can be truly unsettling for an entire back four, hampering their shape through virtue of his raw pace in behind.
United would, one suspects, benefit enormously from complimenting Rashford’s mesmerising influence up front with Ibrahimovic’s guarantee of goals.