Can Ten Hag Bring Rashford Back to Form?

Rashford Southgate England

Rashford’s breakthrough into the Manchester United senior team began on a record high, first featuring under Louis van Gaal before recording stellar performances under José Mourinho and Olé Gunner Solksaer.

However, following England’s defeat in the Euros, the forward has struggled to regain his form and maintain his high-flying performances.

Upon his emergence from Manchester United’s academy, he was deployed across the forward line—a modern, well-rounded forward. However, his inclusion in the team was for his dribbling skills and chance creation rather than goal-scoring prowess. So, seeing him find the net regardless was a prospect of much relish to the Old Trafford faithful.

Under Solksjaer, Rashford was encouraged to go for goals more. But he wasn’t given the one-on-one attention and training was needed to sharpen his skills further.

Erik ten Hag’s Era

With Erik ten Hag’s appointment to the Theatre of Dreams, the forward seeks to make the left-wing attack his own again. The new manager encourages this sentiment and intends to keep the England international as a key player in his rebuild. Rashford, as well, isn’t seeking a move away either, instead putting his holiday to good use, hiring a personal trainer and putting the work in.

He also reached out to former and current teammates Daley Blind and Donny van de Beek to learn about Ten Hag’s system and was encouraged by his findings. The Three Lion star believes he will finally receive the elusive training he required since shining on the professional stage in 2016.

The United faithful will no doubt be rooting for the return to form of one of their favourite players. His dip in performance has been concerning for the bulk of the fan base, who believe Rashford can rediscover himself under the new coach and bounce back to his electric self. That said, we can expect fans of online sports betting in SA, the United Kingdom, and the rest of the world to include him in their fantasy league teams and betting slips. At only 24 years of age, the forward still has enough time to develop into one of the most impressive figures at Manchester United.

And considering he might be playing alongside his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo, for a consecutive season, under a new coach, there’s much hope that the 46-capped international could provide decent showings going forward.

Rashford’s Future under Ten Hag

During Erik ten Hag’s stint at Utrecht, players like Richairo Zivkovic and Sebastien Haller put in consistent high-class performances that earned them moves to some of the biggest clubs in Europe. Upon moving to Ajax, Ten Hag cultivated a side that featured some of the most impressive attacking talents, such as David Neres, Dusan Tadic, and Hakim Ziyech.

It’s quite established that the new Manchester United head coach has a penchant for energetic attacking players who keep defenders on the back foot, produce consistent performances, and press regularly. What’s more, he favours a more collective style of football instead of individual brilliance, which helps everyone grow. Rashford could stand to benefit from such a system.

We saw this in his performances between 2019 and 2021 when he consistently concluded each season as one of the club’s top scorers, registering up to 43 goals across two campaigns. Factor in the training the player didn’t receive and the regularly changing coaching staff since 2016, and his slump in performance was a long time coming. Besides, stability is necessary for consistent performances.

With Erik ten Hag bringing in that much-needed stability, Rashford could straighten out shortcomings in his form and evolve to the next level. Ten Hag’s ability to connect with his players and prove them over time is why players like Haller, Tadic, and Antony are hot commodities on the transfer market.

Additionally, inheriting a slew of established and up-and-coming attacking players, like Jadon Sancho, Alejandro Garnacho, Anthony Elanga, and Marcus Rashford, gives the coach ample time to build and develop a playing style and attacking prowess. It remains to be seen how far Ten Hag can take the club, but the optimism from fans and Rashford is that change has come to United under the new leadership, and that would be seen in the new season.

Rashford’s Thoughts on Erik ten Hag So Far

Since the start of pre-season training, the forward has been raring to go and believes the presence of a new and committed coaching staff inspires the team. The attacker himself is impressed with Erik ten Hag’s attention to detail and looks forward to working with the new boss.

Rashford believes that the squad isn’t alien to Ten Hag’s ideas, which the new coach hasn’t wasted any time in implementing from the start. With new signings Tyrell Malacia and Christian Eriksen joining the club, Ten Hag’s side is starting to take shape ahead of the coming season.

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