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Marcus Rashford, the new leader of Manchester United

Manchester United have a new leader. Marcus Rashford is emerging as the benchmark player in Erik Ten Hag’s side. The Englishman, in addition to his leadership off the pitch with his charitable work, being named Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2020. He also seems to have reached the footballing maturity to be the standard bearer for the Red Devils.

Marcus Rashford, the new leader

Since his debut in 2016, Rashford has always shown himself to be a special player. The English attacker had a flying start to his career, breaking goalscoring records at club and international level. 

However, after a few years of instability on an individual level for the player himself, as well as for United, the No.10 is managing to show the level that everyone expected of him at the club of his life.

Much of Rashford’s excellent form is thanks to his new manager. The arrival of Erik Ten Hag has brought a breath of fresh air to the Old Trafford team. The Dutch coach is building a balanced team, and with the ability to create the ideal context for the striker to show many of his qualities.

The player has always played in any of the three positions up front. However, this season he has established himself as the main attacking reference for his team.

From his attacking position, Rashford is showing all his qualities. In addition to his positional versatility, the striker also possesses excellent conditional, coordinative, and cognitive abilities.

One of the most outstanding aspects is his speed of movement. In situations of spatial advantage (a common circumstance in the Premier League), the player is decisive and unreachable for the opponent. Another of the most notable traits is his technical ability. Thanks to this, the player can face the defender and come out either side.

Finally, one of the biggest areas of improvement shown this season is his cognitive ability. This factor is reflected in the application of different fundamentals, which can be individual, line or universal.

The first of these, which in turn is closely related to his new position and coordinative ability, is the execution of the IFP ‘finishing low’. Rashford has never been a specialist in front of goal. However, his ruthlessness in front of goal has increased considerably.

marcusrashford2 Marcus Rashford, the new leader of Manchester United MBP School of coaches

Since the Qatar 2022 World Cup, the striker has scored a total of 16 goals despite having 8.65xG expected goals, i.e., double the number of goals he should have statistically scored.

Another of the tactical behaviours that he is performing better this season is ‘dismarking in behind against a spatial imbalance in the defensive line’ line fundamental. Marcus has increased his perceptive capacity, managing to analyse in a more optimal way what is happening around him. Thanks to this, the player identifies the defensive imbalances in the opponent, in order to attack them and to be able to position himself in advantageous situations.

marcusrashford3 Marcus Rashford, the new leader of Manchester United MBP School of coaches

In conclusion, the gradual evolution over the last few years, and especially this season, has catapulted Marcus Rashford to be one of the best players in the world at the moment. Furthermore, his excellent performance on the pitch, coupled with his leadership on and off the pitch, has made him Manchester United’s star player.

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