Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has been enjoying the most productive season of his career in front of goal, while former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo has moved to pastures new
Cristiano Ronaldo’s influence can be seen in Marcus Rashford’s eye-catching form for Manchester United this season, it has been claimed.
Portugal striker Ronaldo lost his starting spot at Old Trafford this season, eventually leaving the club by mutual agreement in November and joining Al-Nassr after the World Cup. In his absence, though, Rashford has topped United’s scoring charts and sits on a career-best 28 goals in all competitions after his winner against Brentford on Wednesday.
Despite top-scoring for the Red Devils in the first season of his second stint, Ronaldo’s return ended on less-than-positive terms. With Rashford thriving, though, some have found positives even after the veteran’s departure.
“Ronaldo might have rubbed off on him,” pundit and former England defender Stephen Warnock told The BBC. “Rashford will have seen what hard work and dedication can lead to but then it’s down to him to do it so huge credit to him for wanting to get better.
“Once Ronaldo was moved out, Rashford became the main man and a lot can crumble having that weight and expectation on their shoulders. He’s embraced it.”
Warnock also gave some credit to manager Erik ten Hag, saying “The manager and his staff have created the right atmosphere” for the forward to thrive. “They have worked with him physically and mentally, and he has come on leaps and bounds,” he added.
“Marcus has been a bit surprised by it because it’s always difficult when you’re playing and a team-mate isn’t and you’re both fighting for the same position. But the relationship between the pair has never been better and Marcus knows he can learn a lot from him. He’s grateful for the advice and for the fact that Ronaldo seems genuine in that he wants Marcus to improve and succeed.”
Rashford is thought to be close to agreeing a new deal at Old Trafford, with his current contract expiring in 2024. The England international has shown his worth under Ten Hag after struggling for goals last term, and has opened up about his form this term after hitting a 15th league goal in midweek.
“I’m enjoying myself,” the 25-year-old said after the Brentford game. “The main aim for me is just to keep trying to win matches for the club and try and get as deep into the season as we can.”