Football: Rashford relishing ‘different energy’ at United

Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford heads home the opening goal. PHOTO: AFP

MANCHESTER – Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford said there is a different energy at the club now and that he is feeling fully motivated after poor performances last season cast doubt about his future at Old Trafford.

Rashford scored his 100th goal for the club in Sunday’s 1-0 Premier League victory over West Ham United, becoming the first United player to hit that mark since Wayne Rooney in 2009.

His towering header saw him equal his league tally of four goals for the whole of last season in only 12 games. The 25-year-old scored only five goals in 32 matches last season.

“It’s a complete different energy around the club and the training ground,” Rashford told Sky Sports.

“That puts me in a better headspace and I feel really motivated now. I was struggling at times with more mental things.

“It wasn’t really my own performance but other things off the pitch. That’s the biggest difference from last season.

“I get that it’s your job to speak about what happens on the pitch but for players, we have to get into the right headspace for every game. Too often last season, I wasn’t surprised by some of the stuff that was happening.”

United manager Erik ten Hag was thrilled with Rashford’s contributions.

He said: “When you have scored 100 goals before you turn 25 you are already there. But I think he won’t be satisfied just with that.

“It is about how many trophies you win with your club. He can develop his game even more. His heading has to improve and he worked on it, and you can see what is happening.

“He is much more consistent and reliable. I am really happy with his progress. He is already a great player, but there is still a lot of room for improvement. He will have a fantastic career, I am sure.”

The Dutchman also paid tribute to his goalkeeper David de Gea. De Gea produced three stunning saves in the second half to help United stretch their unbeaten run to eight in all competitions and earn a victory that moved them up to fifth.

The Spanish goalkeeper’s contract expires at the end of the campaign.

“This issue about negotiating (contracts), we said first we are focusing on the games,” Ten Hag said. “When we come to an end with this block, we have the World Cup and then we have to think about them.

“It is clear already and I have already emphasised it several times, I am really happy with David.

“He is a great goalkeeper. He is only 31. He is fit. He can progress even more. He was already impressively good for Man United and he will do that in the future as well.” REUTERS

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.