Erik ten Hag needs to make Marcus Rashford feel loved again if the Manchester United striker is to rediscover his form and confidence.
Rashford endured a miserable time last season, scoring just five goals in 32 appearances for United, his loss of form and belief culminating in him losing his England place. But former United striker Dwight Yorke believes Rashford can get back to his best under new boss ten Hag – but only if the Dutchman handles the 24-year-old in the right way.
“What Rashford is going through is not anything like what any other player has been through,” said Yorke. “He just needs to get his head right and also needs to be told he is very much part of Manchester United.
“He’s ready to rock and roll this season, he looks in terrific form and I’ve seen him doing little bits in the off-season training, looking really focused.
“I see someone determined to do well. He just needs, as I say, a little bit of trust and belief in him. I have no doubt you will probably see the best out of Marcus Rashford this season.”
Yorke, 50, newly-appointed head coach of Macarthur FC in Australia, spent time at United’s training ground doing his coaching badges and saw Rashford close-up on many occasions.
“I’m a huge fan,” said Yorke. “I spent some time around the club and watched training very closely. Marcus, for me, is one of the best players at United.
“As a head coach, I’d be saying to him he will be playing. I remember my time at Aston Villa, when Brian Little came in. I was around 24 and he put his arm around me and said: ‘Listen, you are my guy, my go-to guy’.
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“When I look at what Rashford brings to the team, he’s a local lad for starters and has been at the club ever since he was a kid.
“He’s very passionate about the club. He’s quick, fast, can jink past defenders. He can score, he can create.
“I think we’ve got a player there who somehow needs a little bit of love and attention and also needs to hear the correct words, as to you are in that team, you are one of my main guys.
“I think if Erik can certainly take my advice, and I know he is vastly more experienced than me, it’s what I would be doing because I see a player.
“I was a player and I can see a player in Marcus, a guy who has an enormous amount of talent, an enormous amount of talent. Even in training, the kind of things he does.
“I’m just amazed he’s not in a good place for some reason and that’s part of the manager’s job, to make sure he gets him back playing the kind of football I know Marcus can produce.
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“It’s just incredible. What I would be doing if I was Erik would be saying to Marcus: you are my guy, let’s get going again. Show him some trust and believe in him.
“In football, you do go through ups and downs. We’re human beings, not robots, we’re not going to be consistent all the time.
“But there’s a way of managing that, coming through that, when you’re going through a difficult time. Football is easy when things are going well and everybody knows that.
“You just turn up, play and click your fingers and everything works out the way you want it to work out. The real challenge is maintaining that consistency and everybody saying that.”