One thing that no football fan ever hopes for is an unfulfilled promise, and unfortunately, Marcus Rashford seems to be heading that way. The 21-year-old endured a tough period under ex-manager Jose Mourinho as his stagnant performances frustrated everyone around and turned him into a scapegoat.
But since the arrival of Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Englishman responded well, living up to his reputation by injecting the much-needed pace that was missing from Manchester United’s squad. He even received a £250,000 per week salary coming into the 2019/20 season, but since then, the youngster has again failed to deliver and justify his worth.
United parted ways with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez at the beginning of the season and the entire onus of the attack came on to the young shoulders of Rashford and Anthony Martial. Given all the talk of his potential and how he can finally turn things around for the Red Devils, Rashford frizzled out even before the season picked up pace.
Despite his thrilling two-goal performance on the first matchday against Chelsea in the Premier League, Rashford never quite looked in form and has been unable to find his groove. Unnecessary passes, keeping the ball for long and a missed penalty against Crystal Palace in the league have made things worse for the United striker.
Rashford has been called out for his poor finishing skills, and a few moments of brilliance cannot overshadow his inconsistent efforts in front of the goal. In his nine appearances so far this season across all competitions, Rashford has netted just three goals while Chelsea’s new found sensation Tammy Abraham has been topping the scoring charts under club legend Frank Lampard, with seven goals in seven appearances in the league so far.
Although, there is no second thought that Rashford poses a massive threat, the aspect of clinical finishing has taken a back seat for the youngster. It’s slowly becoming a critical juncture for Ole as the Norwegian seems unable to build his attacking strategy around Rashford, given his once-in-a-blue-moon performance.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of uncertainty going around Rashford’s form, and given his technical ability, it is almost criminal to see him fail. Playing for a club that churned out players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, who had an impact from the get-go, should certainly inspire Rashford to break through this barrier of inconsistency.
Rashford seems to be falling back in making the switch from average striker to leader of the pack. This can only come into effect after a strong belief in his abilities, which include timing his run, knowing who to look out for in open play and to decide what shot to take in crux situations.
The sad news is that the comparisons with former players will always exist, but the Englishman needs to ensure he leaves that noise behind and fully gets behind his manager who has entrusted him with leading the attack and provide results. Rashford might be living on borrowed time and the patience might wear out soon if the club which gave him all so far decides to pull the plug one fine day.
Feature image courtesy: AFP/ Oli Scarff