Marcus Rashford was a deserving winner of Manchester United’s player of the year award.
Let’s look back on a remarkable season for the Manchester United and England forward and where it leaves him heading into 2023/24.
Marcus Rashford’s situation heading into the season
This time last year Marcus Rashford was coming off his worst ever season. With a new era set to begin under Erik ten Hag, it felt like a make or break time was approaching for the forward.
Rashford had scored only five goals in the 2021/22 season, failing to score after the January, and looked bereft of confidence, with his overall game lacking polish.
He had lost his place to Anthony Elanga, and fans feared that a poor first season under Erik ten Hag could be the end for Rashford altogether.
Rashford came into the season refreshed after working on his fitness in the summer, and went on to turn his career around.
How 2022/23 went
Two games into the season, with two defeats, United fans were wondering if Rashford’s pre-season work was a false dawn. Then he scored a winner against Liverpool at Old Trafford, and his whole season began to really kick on.
With Cristiano Ronaldo marginalised, Rashford re-assumed his role as a leader in United’s attack. He began to put up impressive goalscoring numbers and earned a recall to the England squad.
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He performed well at the World Cup, and after returning from the tournament, fuelled by a ridiculous quarter-final selection snub, Rashford embarked on a stunning scoring streak through the early part of 2023.
Rashford surpassed his previous best ever scoring total of 22 goals, finishing the season as Manchester United’s top scorer. He has more than earned a new long-term contract, which United are expected to prioritise shortly.
There was development in Rashford’s game too under Erik ten Hag, where he showed increased capability to play as centre-forward, when required, in addition to his preferred left-wing role.
Rashford won his first trophy with Manchester United since 2017, scoring in the Carabao Cup final against Newcastle, and helped the club secure a Champions League spot.
Rashford’s goal at Wembley was a big personal highlight for him, his first ever goal for Manchester United in a cup final.
Perhaps an even more stunning contribution was his goal in the Nou Camp against Barcelona, where he grabbed the limelight of the big stage, and also forced Jules Kounde into an own goal. Rashford’s performance was hailed by the Spanish press.
He also scored winning goals against Liverpool, and in the derby at Old Trafford against Manchester City, which sparked wild celebrations among the home fans.
Unfortunately, Rashford’s season lowpoint may have come in his last game, the FA Cup final at Wembley, when he was kept quiet by City’s defence.
It was a game United and Rashford were determined to win. He will have to use this disappointment as fuel to kick on, and it shouldn’t detract from a stunning individual season.
Marcus Rashford’s numbers were beyond expectation considering his tally of just five goals last season.
He ended the season with 30 goals in total, the first Manchester United player to hit the milestone since Robin van Persie in 2013.
Rashford has now overtaken Andy Cole on the club’s all-time top scorers list with 123 in total, to rank 18th overall.
He also delivered a further 10 assists, to make it 40 goal contributions in total, 10 more contributions than nearest teammate Bruno Fernandes.
Next step in 2023/24
Marcus Rashford finished as the joint-top scorer in the Europa League and he would love to translate that same form into the Champions League next season.
Rashford will want to try and replicate his form and go back to back with 30 goals next season as well.
From a team perspective, Rashford will want to be part of a side which wins trophies again, and potentially puts together a real title challenge.