Marcus Rashford proved his commitment to the Manchester United cause by playing through most of the season with an injury.
Rashford ended the season as United’s second highest contributor for goals, and assists, but supporters were left wanting more.
Inconsistent play and sloppiness in front of goal showed a player who was at times every bit as erratic as he can be brilliant.
What was his situation heading into the season?
Rashford began the season needing a rest after playing non-stop from June to August after recovering from a stress fracture back injury.
He did not get the rest he needed and this resulted in more injuries, to his ankle and shoulder.
Last season Rashford struck 22 goals in all competitions for United, which was not bad considering he missed two months of action with injury.
How did 2020/21 go?
Rashford ended up one short of his tally from last season, while still exceeding the 20 goal barrier for the second campaign in a row.
It also seemed like Rashford left too many chances on the table. He had the opportunities to break the 30 goal mark for the first time.
Sitters missed away at Everton and Leicester stand out, and Rashford needs to be more clinical. Conversely, he tends to score some of the harder goals, like his late winner at home to Wolves in January.
Rashford deserves credit for playing through his injury, but United need to help him out, by signing another player who can rotate with him on the left wing.
On occasion Rashford filled in up front, shining leading the line in the 4-1 away victory over Newcastle early in the season.
This illustrated an improvement in his all round game. His 12 assists was the best return of his career.
Rashford’s injuries seemed to catch up with him late in the season, as he scored just once in his final 10 games.
Rashford had a couple of early season highlights when he scored a winning goal away at PSG.
He then struck his first ever hat-trick for United in a 5-0 demolition of RB Leipzig as Manchester United’s Champions League campaign peaked after two games.
An impressive early season individual goal against Brighton stood out as well. Those were about as good as it got, and it was somewhat telling that Rashford’s best moments of the season all came early.
The Telegraph reported that Rashford’s injured shoulder was sustained against Arsenal in November after the games against Brighton, PSG, and Leipzig where he shone. It is fair to say he was not quite the same player afterwards.
Rashford struck 8 goals in 12 games before his shoulder injury, and 13 in 45 matches afterwards.
The injury was, looking back, a lowpoint for Rashford. But at the time it was not so obvious.
The real low point of Rashford’s season was the Europa League final, where his lack of form really came back to hurt United, along with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dependance on him.
The defeat was a bitter night for United and Rashford was one of the United players who did not perform.
It was disappointing to see Rashford’s season trail off, with just three goals scored between the start of March and end of May.
What were the standout numbers?
Rashford ended the season with 21 goals and 12 assists. This was the second highest in both departments, behind Bruno Fernandes.
41 goal contributions in total is very impressive and Rashford deserves credit.
One disappointment was that only 11 of Rashford’s goals came in the Premier League. He needs to be pushing this higher next season.
Rashford was also the only United player to score a hat-trick this past season.
Next step in 2021/22?
The top priority for Rashford is to stay injury free. Only then may United supporters really see the best of him.
This season his numbers were undoubtedly impressive, especially when considering the backwards step Anthony Martial took.
At the same time fans were left wanting more, with Rashford ending the season poorly and wasting too many chances.
Rashford should get more rest next season with United likely to strengthen in attack, and this will help his performances.
His target should be to get to 25 or even 30 goals, with at least 15 in the Premier League. If he can get into double figures for assists again, that would be a great return.
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