Marcus Rashford has played 101 matches for Manchester United across the last two long seasons. That’s an incredible amount of football for anyone, let alone someone who has carried multiple injuries throughout the period.
United’s number ten had troubles with his ankle throughout periods of last season. He was even stopped from wearing hard-sole shoes at the beginning of April because of how tender his ankle was. He still stepped on the pitch and scored against Granada days afterwards though.
Three months earlier, Rashford inspired a brilliant victory in the FA Cup against Liverpool. He provided one of the assists of the season for Mason Greenwood and then got on the scoresheet himself to help United trump Jurgen Klopp’s men 3-2… he did all of that before having to limp off in the 86th minute with a knee problem that needed a scan. The 23-year-old has had to deal with a back injury. It started as a stress fracture in 2019/20 and then a double stress fracture afterwards. The United man also has tore a muscle in his left shoulder, which is what he is finally getting surgery on.
Rashford sustained the shoulder injury against Arsenal towards the beginning of the 2020/21 campaign and has had to use pain killing injections to help him battle through matches later in the season. While Ole Gunnar Solskjær and Marcus Rashford kept an honest relationship in regards to injury last season, being in constant conversations about how the winger was feeling with his ‘niggles’ throughout the season and to pull him out when the pain barrier got too much.
However, this strategy is not a long term one and the seriousness of Rashford’s shoulder injury requires surgery and the Red Devil is going to go through with the procedure next week, which could see him out of action for up to 12 weeks.
Rest, recover and come back stronger
This is good news for Rashford. Even though he has scored 20 goals in back-to-back campaigns, the wide man’s performances have had slumps when it’s seemed that he was being overworked. United supporters wanted their man to have a well-deserved rest after the season finished but he was chosen in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2020.Embed from Getty Images
Rashford has looked at his best in the last season when he’s full of energy and always looking to be direct against his opponent. While he has the ability to add goals and assists to his game when he might not be playing his best, a fit Marcus Rashford will cause so many more problems for the opposition, which is quite frankly a scary concept.
The cavalry are here
While you could argue that this should’ve happened much sooner, you can understand the hesitation to take the main man out of action for so long, especially considering that the shoulder injury wouldn’t naturally worsen. Rashford, alongside Bruno Fernandes, was a crucial player at United for the first half of last season. Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial were having poor seasons alike throughout this period and Edinson Cavani was having injury troubles himself as well as experiencing a three-match ban, which meant that long rest was hard to come by for Rashford.
However, now the club will feel confident that they can carry the burden of not having the tricky winger. Bringing in Jadon Sancho is a big reason for this. The world-class winger will be able to slot into the side and provide real quality, which should make Rashford’s absence less noticeable. Solskjær also has a more developed Mason Greenwood, a fully fit Edinson Cavani, Daniel James, Amad and also the hope that Martial can conjure up some good form for the new season after a poor 2020/21. Let’s not forget the exciting Anthony Elanga who has impressed everybody with his performances in pre-season so far.
Basically, the front line at Old Trafford is much stronger than it was a season or two ago and although United will certainly miss their number ten for the beginning of 2021/22, the burden shouldn’t be too heavy and then United and Rashford will be better off when he returns with the fire in his belly and a fully healed shoulder.