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Ex-Manchester United captain, Roy Keane, has said that the penny has finally dropped with Marcus Rashford in terms of what it takes to be an elite footballer. Rashford is currently in the form of his life and scored once again as he helped his team to a 3-0 victory over Nottingham Forest in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final.
The Manchester United number ten has netted in nine of his last ten games and Keane believes the forward deserves praise for taking on the responsibility of being United’s main goal threat. The 51-year-old, who was covering the match on SkySports, said:
“We were pitchside when the the players came out and he looked lean. You wouldn’t want to be up against him – all the best. He looks like a lean, flighting machine.
Sometimes it’s about confidence. He’s played a lot of games for United and big games for England in the last few weeks. Sometimes the penny drops for a player in terms of decision-making and putting the ball in the back of the net. And they’ve needed him.
United have had some great strikers over the years, and I think they need someone like that. Marcus has to say he wants that responsibility to be the main man. The best players turn up week in and week out. It looks like now he’s enjoying that responsibility, which is great to see.”
The Ronaldo factor
Rashford’s red-hot streak of form has coincided with Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure from the club. With United undoubtedly playing better football with Ronaldo off the books, his departure has also seemingly benefitted the England forward.
Keane, who backed Ronaldo all the way in his fallout with Erik Ten Hag, has dismissed the idea that Rashford is only flourishing now because the Portuguese star is no longer at Old Trafford. He said:
“When a player leaves the club the responsibility goes onto another player. He’s 25, not a child, sometimes when the timing is right you can be ready for that. He doesn’t get the niggly injuries anymore with his groin, he seems to have cleared it up.
He looks in a great place mentally, too, which is huge. He said he reckons he took too much on away from football – and being a top footballer is hard enough. Putting the other stuff on the back burner and focusing on being a top player for Manchester United has seen him get his priorities right.”
Rashford’s uncertain future
The 25-year-old’s form has seen him linked with a move away from Old Trafford with some of Europe’s biggest clubs reportedly interested. Links with PSG won’t seem to go away and with only 18 months left on his current deal with Manchester United, his future is relatively unclear.
While Rashford is keen to avoid any off-the-field distractions for now, Manchester United are understandably keen to get contract talks rolling. Manager, Erik Ten Hag, hasn’t hidden how important he feels Rashford is to the success of his project at Old Trafford. Earlier in the week, he said:
“This is the best place for him to be because we want to construct the best team – first in England, then Europe, then the world. He understands Manchester United is his club and also in this environment, in this team, he is playing his best football.”