Rashford can be 'top class'

Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford scoring the opener against Norwich's Tim Krul on Saturday. In his 200th game for United, the 22-year-old added a second from the spot to reach 19 goals this season.
Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford scoring the opener against Norwich's Tim Krul on Saturday. In his 200th game for United, the 22-year-old added a second from the spot to reach 19 goals this season. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

United manager Solskjaer praises forward after his brace leads Red Devils to 4-0 victory

LONDON • Despite Manchester United's campaign being pockmarked by inconsistency, it has been a breakthrough season for Marcus Rashford.

Many had wondered when Romelu Lukaku was allowed to depart for Inter Milan last summer where the goals would come from and if their forwards could step up.

Rashford, 22, has allayed those fears and should United sign attacking reinforcements this month, they are likely to complement - and not replace - him.

With 19 goals in all competitions, including 14 in the Premier League, the England forward has already comfortably surpassed his previous career best of 13 in a season.

And after marking his 200th appearance for United - the third-youngest player to do so after Ryan Giggs and George Best - with a brace in a 4-0 win over bottom side Norwich on Saturday, his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has predicted he "can get so much better".

He said: "What an achievement, to get to 200 games at his age. I don't know how many (career) goals he has scored, but he has 19 this season and he's been absolutely top class to work with.

"He's a great kid, great attitude, he wants to learn, wants to improve, but knows he has to keep his feet on the ground. He is always available even though today, he is carrying quite a few knocks.

"He's played many, many games, I might have to look at how we manage him, but he's got everything to be a top-class player."

Solskjaer also called on the Old Trafford faithful to band together as fifth-placed United, who also scored through Anthony Martial and substitute Mason Greenwood, aim to put together a winning run to bolster their hopes of reaching next season's Champions League.

On the chanting from the home supporters against the club's American ownership, the Glazer family, and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward, he said: "I'm not sure if the players will get it but I noticed.

"As a club, we've got to stick together, we've got to be united. We are a family. I can only say when I've been here, I've been backed by the owners, I've been backed by Ed and they're supporting me.

RASH OF GOALS

What an achievement, to get to 200 games at his age... He has 19 this season and he's been absolutely top class to work with.

OLE GUNNAR SOLSKJAER, Manchester United manager, suggesting 22-year-old striker Marcus Rashford has the potential to become a top-class player.

"(The fans have) just got to believe me when I say I feel we are doing loads of good things behind the scenes and we are going in the right direction."

But with a five-point gap to Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and final qualifying spot, their prospects will depend on the continued fitness of Rashford, who was substituted early after the break.

The striker is a doubt for Wednesday's FA third-round replay with Wolves.

Rashford, however, downplayed his early removal, claiming on Twitter afterwards it was "just a precaution and looking forward to getting back at it".

He also expressed his pride at following in Gigg's and Best's footsteps, tweeting that he could not "put into words what it means" and he was "born, bred, always red".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ASSOCIATED PRESS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 13, 2020, with the headline 'Rashford can be 'top class''. Print Edition | Subscribe