Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal against Burnley in the Carabao Cup round of 16 clash on December 21, 2022 | Photo Credit: Action Photos via Reuters
In Manchester United’s first competitive match since parting ways with Cristiano Ronaldo, Marcus Rashford delivered a thrilling performance and sensational goal against Burnley to show he could be their top striker for years to come.
Fresh from scoring three times for England at the World Cup, Rashford put in a tireless display on the right of United’s attack and sealed their passage to the quarter-finals of the League Cup with one of his best goal on Wednesday.
Picking up the ball deep in United’s half, Rashford burst down the right wing and took on two defenders before firing into the far bottom corner in another demonstration that the 25-year-old is back to his best after a miserable previous campaign.
The striker’s confidence appeared to have been badly damaged after he missed a penalty in England’s shootout defeat by Italy in last year’s European Championship final and Ronaldo’s surprise return to United has also had an impact on Rashford’s form.
He started just 18 of United’s 49 matches in all competitions while scoring just five goals as they ended the season without a trophy and their lowest points total since the Premier League began in 1992. He was also dropped by England .
Rediscovering the form
But while Ronaldo has been marginalized this term under new boss Erik ten Hag, leading to the end of his contract last month, Rashford has rediscovered his old influence, starting 16 in 22 matches in all competitions and scored nine goals.
He was recalled by England manager Gareth Southgate for the World Cup and scored against Iran and twice against Wales, although he came on late in France’s quarter-final defeat.
Rashford said he had put the England exit behind him, saying after the win over Burnley: “There’s no time to feel sorry for yourself. You have to take the results and thankfully we did.”
Ten Hag praised Rashford for his performance.
“I think he invested a lot in the runs behind the defending line and he scored a great goal off the dribble; a great finish. I think he’s in great form and I hope he can keep his focus,” said the Dutchman.
“His performances are improving a lot from game to game, he is a constant threat and does a lot of work defensively. I hope and expect him to continue with his level of performance.”