Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes that Marcus Rashford‘s late winner against West Ham was “a big moment” for the forward, and backs him to return to form after a slump in recent weeks.
The match-winning goal left Ralf Rangnick‘s side fourth in the Premier League going into the two-week winter break.
After returning from injury in mid-October, Rashford managed to score three goals in his first four games back in red, however, the following 11 matches saw United’s no.10 goalless and drowned of confidence.
The last-gasp strike against the Hammers, though, could be a turning point for the 24-year-old, who also netted against Brentford four days prior.
Neville, who played over 500 games for the club, dismissed the idea that the Englishman’s poor run of form has been due to off-field issues.
“There was a lot of questions being asked of Marcus Rashford,” Neville said on Sky Sports. “I’m not quite sure it’s fair that it’s suggested that he’s distracted by off-field events as soon as he has a difficult patch.
“That’s the easy thing to say because no one knows why he’s having a difficult patch. He could be having a difficult patch because of a number of different reasons, it could be injury, loss of form, confidence, the team not playing well, but it’s the easy thing to do; to point towards the off-field stuff.”
The Salford City owner instead focused on Rashford’s lack of emotions in recent months, hoping that his contribution to three points at Old Trafford on Saturday will help to turn things around for the United winger.
“The thing for me about Marcus Rashford yesterday when I saw him celebrate that goal was that it brought joy to him, and I think that’s the most important thing when you’re a football player; passion and joy.
“I’m not saying that you need to walk around with a smile on your face because I was miserable as sin when I was playing football, and to be fair quite often cantankerous and argumentative.
“But, the thing is, I either want to see joy or passion or fire, I don’t want to see that face of nothing,” Neville stated. “I think Marcus in the last couple of months or so, he’s just looked drained in his face of any energy or any sort of spirit and that can’t happen.
“You can have fire, you can have anger, you can have joy, you can have all of those different emotions, but we need emotion. We can’t have lack of emotion.
“I think yesterday was a big moment for him and hopefully, that now gives him the confidence to rise again, puff his chest out and do the things that he does because he’s an excellent striker and an excellent forward.”