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'The Marcus Rashford of old' - Man Utd forward goes back to basics in bid to rediscover lost spark

12:27 GMT+3 27/09/2022
Marcus Rashford Manchester United 2022-23
Manchester United have got the “Marcus Rashford of old” back this season, claims Andy Cole, with a home-grown star rediscovering a lost spark.
  • Struggled for goals last season
  • Has started positively in 2022-23
  • Playing as a central striker again

WHAT HAPPENED? The 24-year-old forward registered just five goals for the Red Devils through 32 appearances last season – with that record representing a personal low since he made a senior breakthrough at Old Trafford. He is already up to three efforts through six outings this term, having been returned to a central striking berth, with a reversal in fortune being put down to a change in approach that has seen him go back to basics.

WHAT THEY SAID: Former United striker Cole has told the club’s official website of seeing Rashford offer a positive response to his doubters: “It’s the first time we’ve seen Marcus run in behind and stretch teams since he first got into the first team. I think he went away from his strengths [last season], which was stretching teams. If you look at how he’s playing now to when he first got into the team, people will turn around and say, ‘that’s the Marcus Rashford of old.’ If he sticks to that, he’ll score goals.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rashford’s struggles in 2021-22 saw him slip out of the England squad, but a timely return to form means that – if injuries can be avoided – he could come into contention for a place in Gareth Southgate’s plans for the World Cup finals in Qatar.

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WHAT NEXT FOR RASHFORD? The United frontman was not involved in England’s final UEFA Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany as he has been nursing a knock, but he could be fit for a return to domestic action on Sunday when the Red Devils – who have won their last four Premier League games - take in a derby date with neighbours Manchester City.