Mental freshness could be the most important aspect of Marcus Rashford's recovery
Manchester United are preparing to welcome Marcus Rashford back from injury.
Rashford has been training again after a shoulder operation, and the recovery time also allowed him to rest up a foot injury.
But it is the third aspect which could be the most critical of the lot. The mental break Rashford has been able to take could prove to be crucial.
After a long, slog of a season which ended with penalty shootout defeats for club and country, Rashford was understandably mentally shattered as well as physically.
The fallout from missing one of the penalties for England was also emotionally draining, despite the support which saw supporters rally round the forward.
Rashford made reference to this in an interview with BBC Sport this week, placing equal emphasis on his mental and physical recovery time.
My recovery is – I wouldn’t say coming to an end because obviously I have to keep looking after it – but I’m in a much better place physically and mentally.
The Manchester United forward said: “Last year was a very long season for me, I got this injury at the end of September and gradually it got that little bit worse, but now I’m fully free of that, I feel much better physically and mentally.”
A chance to reset which Sancho has not had
Rashford needed this rest. Football at the highest level is like a never-ending treadmill of games and top players are unable to get off and have any time away.
When he came back after the lockdown in June 2020 through to July 2021, Rashford played more than 70 matches for club and country.
Bear in mind the injuries he had, there was no off-time, and this past summer Rashford would have had around two weeks before going straight back into it.
This way he has had a proper break, around two months away from football, and he will be better for it.
You can see how happy Rashford looks in the pictures of him training at Carrington. He clearly missed being away and is glad to be back.
New teammate Jadon Sancho has not had the same break. After the Euros he had a short holiday then came straight to United.
This is part of the reason his form has not been great straight away. Sancho has had to settle off the pitch, and has not had time to have a proper mental rest. He’s getting there gradually and has shown improvement for club and country over the past fortnight.
Rashford may take a little while to get going again, or he may hit the ground running. Either way, the mental rest is likely to have worked in his favour and in the long-term, he will be better for it.
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