Steve McClaren's comments over Marcus Rashford's attitude come to light
Marcus Rashford is looking to come back and impress Erik ten Hag when he returns for pre-season on June 27. He is looking to win back a place in both Manchester United’s team, and subsequently, England’s World Cup squad.
The first steps with United are important. If he can’t make it happen at Old Trafford, his England hopes are doomed too.
Rashford did not play well last season, and he has a lot of people to win over, starting with Manchester United supporters. Pundits and analysts will be watching closely too.
Ten Hag is the key to it all. If Marcus Rashford can win him over, then he is on the right track. Convincing Ten Hag’s coaches is essential too, and comments made by new assistant Steve McClaren earlier this year, highlighted one of the forward’s biggest shortcomings.
McClaren criticised Marcus Rashford’s attitude
Comments made by Steve McClaren earlier this year during Manchester United’s FA Cup win over Aston Villa, have come to light, after being published in The Mail last night in a report over Rashford’s hopes to win back his place.
McClaren said: “I hate that attitude. Rashford has probably always had this problem in terms of questioning his attitude.
“He doesn’t fight through bad moments. He doesn’t stay in the game.”
McClaren will of course give Rashford a clean slate, but he is clearly acutely aware of Rashford’s weaknesses, and Erik ten Hag will be too.
The good news, is McClaren actually wants to help Rashford. The comments were only partially published by The Mail from the full Talksport interview from January, where the United assistant says that Rashford needed better management.
He added: “If he’s not having a good first half, he’ll never have a good second half. I just look at him and think that boy needs help, off the field and through the manager.
“Somebody needs to give him the tools to come out of the bad times because he doesn’t know how to and stays in it. It’s a cloud above the head or even in the head that he can’t get out of.”
McClaren is a big advocate of sport psychology and he will help try to get into Rashford’s head, so he can get past his mental block.
He believes in Rashford’s having the on pitch qualities to be worth persisting with, commenting: “He’s got the talent and the ability. There’s that one cornerstone which we call mentality, attitude, which he hasn’t grasped yet.”
Rashford will be aware he really has to make up for a poor 2021/22, and show he can fight through the tough times.
Last season saw Rio Ferdinand also question his approach, telling YouTube: “Since he’s come back, his body language, he hasn’t looked like the Marcus we fell in love with and we all love, that someone who’s aggressive, runs at people, and every time he gets it he wants to hurt the opposition. I’ve not seen that, I want to see that.”
We all saw it. Rashford with his head bowed, shoulders slumped, walking back rather than running, was a common sight last season. Ralf Rangnick actually did him a favour by dropping him from the squad for the final game of the season.
Manchester United fans lost patience with him, particularly after the home draw with Chelsea in April when 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo did more tracking back than the 24-year-old.
Rashford’s best spell came under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, a manager who totally believed in him, and gave him confidence on the pitch. He didn’t respond well to Ralf Rangnick taking a more critical approach. Erik ten Hag will look to get inside his head and find the best approach for him.
A new start is needed, and Rashford will hope he can win Steve McClaren over, with a new positive attitude. That might happen in pre-season of course, and a hopeful early honeymoon period for the team under Erik ten Hag.
The real test will be when United inevitably hit a bad patch, or if Rashford’s own form doesn’t ignite straight away. Can he fight through it, and show he has changed? If Erik ten Hag ‘hates’ his attitude in moments like this, then Rashford might struggle to have much of a future at Old Trafford under the Dutchman.