In what turned out to be a thrashing by the end, Marcus Rashford shined brightly in his cameo performance against RasenBallSport Leipzig in the midweek Champions League fixture.
This was always going to be a testing match for Manchester United – even at Old Trafford – which would then start to shape the outcome of Group H in the Europe’s top tier competition.
After taking the three points away from Paris with the them, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer targeted another scalp, this time against Leipzig, who were managed by the tactically astute Julian Nagelsmann.
Even though the Red Devils were leading from midway through the first half, the game was tight and tense at times. Solskjaer’s men defended well and were comprehensively organised throughout, but there was always a danger present with Leipzig’s attackers.
But when Bruno Fernandes and Rashford took to the field, the game changed on its head. Manchester United looked far more composed and thorough in the transition period, as well as creating a handsome amount of chances.
In the end, it only took 16 minutes for the England international to bag himself a hat-trick and call it a night. Three mature and eloquent finishes told the world that Rashford has turned up the volume on this season and is ready to propel himself forward.
At times, given his intelligence both on and off the pitch, it is easy to forget that Rashford is still just 22 years old. With his prime years ahead of him, it is highly pleasing for any Red Devils fan to see the Englishman take everything within his stride and become a leader under Solskjaer.
12 months ago, Rashford’s finishing was not as clinical as his manager’s was back in the day. Some erratic decision making caused him to miss too many one-on-ones and it was clear that Anthony Martial was the centre forward in the team, the man the head coach relied upon consistently.
But with time, Rashford has closed that gap and it is in fact his skillset that is now being utilised in every match. He has shown that in the big games with a lot of pressure beading down on the team, he is the player to step up. Against Paris in both away matches, Rashford was the saviour – a term he is used to be awarded with his regular man of the match displays against the Premier League’s PINC top six teams.
There is still a lot to come from Rashford, but he has, so far this season, shown what a leader he can be for the players around him, and how clinical he is in front of goal. His seven goals in nine appearances in all competitions amplifies in the form he has been in, which Solskjaer will want to see be taken all the way through the season.
Source: Forbes – Business