Erik ten Hag reviews the Crystal Palace game
Manchester United are growing increasingly concerned over Marcus Rashford’s disappointing start to the season, according to reports. Rashford has failed to build on his career-best 2023/24 campaign, and fears are starting to creep in about his attitude amid problems in Erik ten Hag’s squad.
The 25-year-old forward was a driving force behind Ten Hag’s successful maiden season at Old Trafford, scoring 30 goals in all competitions.
But his go-ahead goal in last month’s 3-1 defeat at Arsenal was his sole strike in eight appearances this term.
Rashford’s early struggles have sparked concerns, given he penned a new long-term contract at United during the summer worth around £400,000-a-week.
And those worries reportedly leak into the Red Devils’ dressing room, with Ten Hag and his teammates missing his world-class form.
According to the Mirror, there is a looming concern over Rashford’s body language during games, in particular.
The No 10 regularly has cut an increasingly frustrated figure on the pitch while take-ons are coming off and shots are connecting cleanly.
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His vanished goalscoring form has undoubtedly contributed to United’s dismal form, losing four of their opening seven Premier League fixtures – the club’s worst-ever start to a season.
Ten Hag’s side also tasted defeat in their Champions League Group A opener, losing 4-3 at Bayern Munich, during which Rashford looked a threat but was missing his edge in the final third.
United’s attacking availability problems may have played a factor in Rashford’s woes. He grew accustomed to being the focal point of Ten Hag’s front line last season, with Antony almost always alongside him.
But the Brazilian winger has missed most of the new campaign while on a leave of absence. Meanwhile, Rasmus Hojlund’s £72million arrival would always take time to adjust to.
Rashford and Hojlund have reportedly been working behind the scenes to improve their connection, hoping that Ten Hag gains a dynamic duo that can add significant goals to his squad.
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He has frustrated fans by halting a run to look for a pass to Hojlund on Bruno Fernandes centrally rather than taking his man on.
Ten Hag will be drilling down the need to do both. And amid Jadon Sancho’s banishment, the Dutchman is reportedly eyeing an audacious January move for Juventus winger Federico Chiesa.
United are said to be targeting the 25-year-old to replace Sancho, and Juventus value him at £52m.
But the Italy international’s arrival would also work as a timely threat to Rashford if he hasn’t rediscovered his best form before the new year.
United have made signings in the past who have vastly improved underperforming stars – take Alex Telles’ benefits for Luke Shaw as an example.
And Chiesa landing at Old Trafford in January could remind Rashford that no player’s position has been untouchable under Ten Hag.
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