If you watched Marcus Rashford over the final five weeks of the season you were probably fairly underwhelmed. Expectations were just too high.
But that does not mean his heroics across the first half of the season should be forgotten or glossed over. At times Rashford carried United to big results.
Rashford lacked a little sharpness to his game late in the season. He missed big chances against Sheffield United and Southampton, and was anonymous in the FA Cup semi-final and against West Ham.
He was simply asked to do too much. After returning from a serious back injury, Rashford started every single Premier League game plus the semi-final, and we commend him for doing so. He did what was asked of him and came through it unscathed.
There were a couple of vital goals in there too. One he did score against Southampton, and the opening strike in the win away at Crystal Palace.
Of the 22 goals he scored for United, just three came after the restart. Yet during the long stretch he scored 19 of the goals before his injury, he was outstanding.
Give him credit
Early in the season Rashford toiled in a central role while Anthony Martial was out. Once the Frenchman returns he settled into his best position wide on the left and played the best football of his career so far.
In a team lacking creative fulcrums Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba, Rashford was instrumental to United’s attacking game.
There was a stretch of 16 games between late October and the end of December in which Rashford scored 14 goals and provided three assists.
Particular highlights included his brace in the home win over Tottenham at Old Trafford, and a terrific all round display in the away victory in the league at the Etihad.
There were games too at home to Newcastle and away at Norwich where he linked up so effectively with Anthony Martial that the opposing teams could not live with United.
Achievements even more notable considering pressure
Rashford’s goalscoring run was even more impressive because without his contribution United would have been lost.
There was no Pogba or Fernandes giving the team a spark, with Dan James and Andreas Pereira becoming regulars in the side.
Rashford found a way to link up with James effectively, benefitting from four assists from the Welshman.
This form from the England international made the prospect of his link up with United’s two star midfielders an exciting one.
It didn’t quite hit the heights we hoped for, but Rashford did enough and so did United. He played differently, often dropping deeper rather than testing the last man and running at defenders, and without injured left-back Luke Shaw he found it trickier in the final few matches.
With time it will click, and with new signings coming in too to hopefully help spare some of his workload and spread game time around, we should see a fresher, livelier player in 2020/21 than we did over the final few weeks.
Lets just not forget the huge contribution he made earlier in the campaign, without which, a third place finish would not have been possible.
- What United would gain and lose by pursuing Coman as Sancho alternative
- Manchester United bound Hansen-Aaroen provides first senior assist
- United academy talent Charlie Wellens could have unique under-23 opportunity
- United youngster D’Mani Mellor says he has torn ACL
- A night made for Dan James sees him left on the bench
- Expensive midfield combination of Fred and Paul Pogba needs work
- Five reasons to be hopeful Jadon Sancho will sign for Manchester United
- Guillermo Varela reacts to defeat to Manchester United
- Manchester United fans react to Harry Maguire’s performance