Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford is on record to have scored more goals than any other United Player since his debut for the club in February 2016.
The latest addition to his impressive collection of strikes, a delicate chip in Saturday’s 2-1 win against Watford, was typical of Rashford’s contribution under his new manager and testament to the calming influence that Solskjaer has had on the academy graduate when faced with one-on-one situations.
Rashford, with Solskjaer‘s assistance, is fast becoming the all-round centre-forward by whom great teams are identified and it is in United’s best interest to ensure that the negotiations over a new contract for no.10 are swiftly completed.
Nine of United’s 42 goals since the Norwegian took the reins from Jose Mourinho in December have come courtesy of Rashford and the most instructive of those was the rocket that the forward put past Gianluigi Buffon in the 93rd-minute of United’s 3-1 Champions League last-16 second-leg win against Paris Saint-Germain last month.
It was United’s moment of the past decade and could, quite possibly, rank in the club’s top 10 in history – discounting finals perhaps. The venom with which Rashford struck that penalty to ensure United became the first side in the history of the European Cup to reverse a two-goal deficit away from home in a knock-out tie felt like a turning point in his career.
Claiming a spot-kick over Romelu Lukaku, the £75 million forward four years his senior, and striking it with such conviction in the highest of stakes means Rashford should no longer be considered a mere prospect at the club and the priority now must be to ensure that the optimum conditions are in place for Rashford to flourish further.
They might include, among others, a bespoke right-winger with whom Rashford can form a consistent relationship, and a centre-back capable of providing the balls forward – like those offered by Virgil Van Dijk at Liverpool – onto which Rashford can run with his considerable turn of pace.
United are a counter-attacking team, as Louis Van Gaal was keen to point out last week, and Rashford’s attributes are perfect for that system of play.
It is perhaps why Rashford has adapted to Solskjaer‘s system as well as, if not more quickly than, the rest of his teammates in the transition from Mourinho‘s less-choreographed attacking approach.
Since Solskjaer was appointed on December 19, United have won 35 Premier League points. No other United manager has come close to that tally in the same time frame since Sir Alex Ferguson’s final title-winning season garnered the same number of points.
United had Robin van Persie to thank for that triumph and, should Solskjaer nail his recruitment, Rashford could be the man to fire the Reds to a 21st crown.