Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Højlund are expected to play a huge part in the coming Manchester United season under Erik ten Hag.
Under Erik ten Hag, Rashford was truly exceptional last campaign, helping fire the club into third place and producing some fantastic moments along the way.
Against Arsenal on Sunday afternoon, despite his fantastic goal to give United the lead, he was quiet on the left-hand side, which is unlike his usual self.
While the two teams were drawing 1-1, new signing Rasmus Højlund came on for his debut and impressed – his physical presence, technical ability, and quick thinking were all on display.
However, as Rashford has spent most of the last two campaigns not playing with a dependable central target man up front, he has previously adjusted his game to become more about goalscoring and less about creating, and he must change this with Højlund now in the picture.
Rashford, in the last two seasons, has played with Cristiano Ronaldo, Anthony Martial, and Wout Weghorst as the striker to his right, while also occupying the position himself.
With Ronaldo, he often drifted to the left-hand side, meaning Rashford had to cover centrally at points and be a goal threat. With Weghorst and sometimes Martial, Rashford did not have a reliable goalscorer to create for and had to further make sure he was the one slotting the ball in the back of the net.
Now, with Højlund, Rashford must change this. The young Dane is a through-and-through central striker with great goalscoring abilities and attacking intelligence, and Rashford must learn to trust him instead of taking the shot himself.
There were multiple instances where Højlund was able to give United a chance through his physical presence, laying the ball off to the left-hand side before spinning towards goal, but Rashford did not play the ball back.
Instead, Rashford would cut in to try and create his own shot as he has done many times in the past, but Højlund’s presence and abilities now make him the superior option in front of goal, and Rashford must learn to give up the ball and pass.
If the Englishman can find a balance and make the correct decisions, the club could be in for a fantastic goalscoring season – but if not, this could spell problems.
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