Marcus Rashford has spoken about the advantages of being flexible in attack – now he needs to prove it

I want to be able to play in all [attacking] positions effectively,” Marcus Rashford told Gary Lineker in an interview with Match of the Day back when the Manchester United academy graduate was 21 years old.

Lineker, who was an incredible striker back in his day, was questioning young Rashford on what his ideal position is. When he pressed Marcus as to what his dream position would be, Marcus replied, “I think No.9 is obviously the dream. But for me, in this day and age now, it is ideal to be as effective as you are in No.9 on the left and the right [wing].

Fast forwards around three years, and Marcus Rashford has achieved a lot. He has scored a total of 93 goals and provided 58 assists for the club so far, and has a total of 12 goals and five assists for England too. All by the age of 24.

But he’s hit a proper rut in form.

After missing his penalty in the EURO 2020 final shootout against Italy and having an operation on his shoulder later that summer, Rashford spent the first few months of this season in rehab. Many expected him to fly back in to action with a bang, but despite scoring in his first two games back for the club, it’s been anything but that.

His left-wing position has now been occupied by summer signing Jadon Sancho, while his own form has left him struggling both on the right and up front.

Marcus Rashford has stated quite rightly that for players to truely play at the top level, you need to be proficient in mulitiple areas of the pitch – the dominance of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the last 15 years has proved that.

Even now, some of the future top players in the world such as Kylian Mbappe, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham are players who have already proven that their skill set stretches far beyond just being good in one position.

Rashford has shown he recognises this; now he needs to prove he has the ability to execute it.

Somewhat controvertially, I think Rashford definitly still has a place in this squad. I think that Rashford, just like many other players at this club, has suffered greatly from a lack of structure that focuses on the improvement of players.

The lack of ability of those who run the club to see more than a season ahead has meant that players such as Rashford have been run into the ground and have not been nurtured properly, with Rashford playing a significant portion of the last few years while carrrying injuries a perfect example of that.

Although his obvious talent allowed him to play well throughout Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjær‘s time at the club, so much weight was put on the shoulders of players such as Rashford and Anthony Martial that we are now seeing the unfortunate consequences of this.

Martial has had to go on loan to Sevilla to try and rediscover his fire and fans calling for Rashford to be sold due to his burnout.

Maybe me saying that Marcus Rashford deserves another chance to prove himself to be the footballer we all thought he would once become can be framed as me buying too much into the fairytale of academy graduates making their name at the top for United.

Maybe me wanting to see Rashford become successful once again is more in hope and in faith, but what is football if you take out the magical storylines of going from zero to hero?

Marcus Rashford once proved to all of us that he has the potential to become a top footballer for this club – he needs to prove this again.

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