Marcus Rashford discusses playing as a lone striker at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Marcus Rashford has been discussing his role as a lone striker at Manchester United, noting that he prefers to operate alongside a strike partner.

The teenager announced himself to the watching world with a game-changing display as a lone striker against FC Midtjylland, claiming a brace after being called into the starting XI at the last minute by Louis van Gaal.

He has featured primarily as a winger under Jose Mourinho but delivered a series of important displays at the masthead of attack following Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury in April last season.

And Rashford, reflecting on his role under Mourinho, noted that he didn’t spend much time playing as a lone striker before breaking into the first team.

“I’ve only been playing up front for maybe two years, we’ve usually played with one striker up front in the academy, so it’s different for me,” he said.

“Having two up front is definitely beneficial, and once you get used to it and start building relationships and connections it’s a positive formation to play [in].”

A key aspect of Rashford’s continued presence in the United side comes in the form of his adaptability. He was not meant to start against Midtjylland, nor did he expect to, but when called upon he didn’t disappoint. Power, pace and that unquestionable youthful glint in his eye was at the forefront of Rashford’s game back then, but if you fast forward eighteen months the complexion has changed.

Those vital qualities are still there, of course, but supervenient over all of that is a sense of maturity and poise honed over the last year that belies his young age.

Playing as a lone striker, as well as out wide, has enriched the teenager’s perception of the game, and Mourinho’s job now is to continue sending opportunities the Englishman’s way. Three major honours already: who knows what else he can achieve?

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