Erik ten Hag has credited Marcus Rashford’s positivity and work ethic for the striker’s renaissance at Manchester United this season.
Rashford has registered three goals – including two in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Arsenal – and two assists in six Premier League appearances this season, as many
goal involvements as he managed in 25 appearances last season.
Asked to put his finger on what had changed with Rashford, Ten Hag told reporters ahead of United’s Europa League opener against Real Sociedad: “It’s difficult for me to talk about the past, but I see a happy Marcus Rashford.
“I see some phases in his game which we could improve. We’ve worked really hard in the last two months with him on different aspects. He likes it and wants to transfer it to the pitch, and that is what we see in this moment.
“It started with happiness, he’s coming in every day, he’s smiling with a really positive vibe. If you put all those things together you contribute more to the team performance, the result, and also your development.”
England international Rashford has entered the final year of his contract at Old Trafford, though United do hold an option to extend the 24-year-old’s deal by a further year.
Ten Hag, who insisted Rashford features in his long-term plans for United, added: “I don’t think he is out of contract; I think United are in control of the situation.”
Ten Hag: Man Utd want to win every tournament
United begin their Europa League campaign against Real Sociedad at Old Trafford on Thursday looking to extend a four-game winning run which has seen them emphatically bounce back from defeats in their opening two Premier League matches.
Having maintained a core group of starting players throughout that winning streak, Ten Hag admitted he could not satisfy his entire squad with regular game time but was adamant every player would be needed if Manchester United were to be successful across all competitions.
“We have to win every game, we want to win every tournament, so we take everything serious,” he added.
“We not only have a team but a squad, that is clear, but we have to win every game. That is the mentality Manchester United needs.
“Maybe I cannot keep all of the players happy every game. But everyone gets game time if they perform well, it’s quite clear.
“We need everyone, we have a lot of games to cover, there is a lot in front of us with national teams and the World Cup and also the cups in England, Europa League, and the Premier League.”
Ronaldo could start against Real Sociedad; Martial still out
Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo is set to make only his second start of the season at home to Real Sociedad in the Europa League.
The 37-year-old has been kept out of the side by Marcus Rashford and new signing Antony but will likely be part of manager Erik Ten Hag’s rotation as Anthony Martial remains sidelined with an Achilles injury.
That will probably see the likes of midfielders Casemiro, a £60million signing from Real Madrid, and Fred, club captain Harry Maguire and fellow defenders Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka feature but left-back Luke Shaw and midfielder Donny van de Beek were absent from open training.
Manchester United provisional squad: Dubravka, Wan-Bissaka, Maguire, Lindelof, Malacia, Casemiro, Fred, McTominay, Ronaldo, Elanga, Sancho, De Gea, Heaton, Martinez, Varane, Dalot, Fernandes, Eriksen, Rashford, Garnacho, Fredricson, Mainoo.
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