The early signs from Marcus Rashford’s return to the Manchester United side are promising.
While United were defeated at the weekend, Rashford’s substitute cameo offered reason to be positive.
His pace caused problems for Leicester City’s defence and he took his goal extremely well, finishing a one on one in clinical fashion.
Rashford is expected to start this fixture after missing out on the first two Champions League games through injury.
It will be Rashford’s first game in front of an Old Trafford crowd since January 2020 when he sustained a back injury against Wolves.
This should be a moment of celebration. And while Rashford will get a fantastic reception, the crowd will not be in celebratory mood before the game.
Old Trafford will be nervous and sceptical after United’s recent league struggles, and the nailbiting Champions League win against Villarreal.
Fortunately Rashford is the perfect player to warm up the Old Trafford crowd and get them going.
6 in his last 6 Champions League games
Last season Marcus Rashford was outstanding for Manchester United in the Champions League.
Rashford scored six goals in six group games, a figure which saw him finish the group stage as the top goalscorer.
No player was unluckier than Rashford to see United bow out of the tightest of group stage last December.
Now after missing the opening two games, Rashford will be desperate to make up for lost time.
This is one of two Champions League ties at Old Trafford left. Rashford will want to make this one count.
Last season he scored a memorable hat-trick in the 5-0 win over RB Leipzig, his first one ever in a Manchester United shirt.
The sad part of it was that his big night came in front of an empty stadium.
It should also push Rashford on to try and recreate the magic of his three goal blitz against Leipzig, which all came in a spectacular final half an hour.
United have been lacking a spark recently and Rashford hinted he might be able to provide one with his late cameo at the King Power.
Atalanta will once again be tough, resilient opponents, but Leipzig fitted the same mould last season, and Rashford made light work of them at Old Trafford.
To be back in front of fans at Old Trafford once again will mean so much to Rashford. He will want to deliver a performance worthy of the occasion.
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