If one had to choose Manchester United’s Player of the Season, Marcus Rashford would be one of the first names. The English forward has had a very productive season, scoring 29 times and assisting 16 in 53 appearances across all competitions.
Goals have dried up for the Manchester United youth academy graduate in recent months. The last time he found the net was on April 27 when he put the Red Devils 2-0 up against Tottenham. United would go on to share points in that matchup as Spurs scored two in the second half.
Rashford’s lack of goals in recent games has prompted former Manchester United star Paul Parker to ask a very tough question – does Rashford deserve to start based on his current form?
Rashford should not be in the starting lineup based on his current form
Parker, who won two Premier League titles with Man Utd, shared that Rashford is a starter because he gets goals. As he’s not doing that, it begs the question whether he should be in the starting XI or not?
“It’s time to talk about whether Marcus Rashford deserves to be in the starting lineup. We can no longer avoid that conversation. His goals have dried up and scoring goals is his biggest strength.”
In Parker’s opinion, Rashford should be dropped from the starting XI as not only is he not scoring but also because he’s also not having any sort of measurable impact on the opponents.
“Is he really looking like a player who is going to score a goal? I think we have to say no. Is he creating anything? No. Is he really affecting other teams? I think the answer is no to be perfectly honest. He wasn’t there against Brighton or West Ham.”
Rashford isn’t scoring as he’s not utilising his strengths
The England star of course has an eye for goal which has gone missing for the last few games. Parker believes this is because Rashford is not utilising his biggest strength – running in behind and taking on players.
“He has strengths but he doesn’t want to use them. His strength is to run in behind and take on players, beat opponents and he is not doing that.
“He can’t play in the middle and the manager knows that.”
According to Parker, Rashford can also work on improving his team play as he’s not making them better with his current form.
“He needs to interact more with his teammates. He is not making them better and all the other players like Antony, Sancho and Weghorst must think inside of themselves: Why is Rashford staying on when he in fact should be the one subbed off?”
Potential fan backlash prevents Erik ten Hag from dropping Rashford
Being a youth academy product as well as being a philanthropist, Rashford of course is a fan favourite.
Parker says that Erik ten Hag cannot drop Rashford because of the potential fan backlash or even sub him off when United need a goal.
“Erik ten Hag can´t afford to sub him off. Especially not if Man United are chasing a goal. He is worried that he will get a crazy bounce back from the fans if he takes him off. That’s why he also might think he needs to play him in the starting lineup.”
“But I think every fan will look at him right now and think: Does he look like he is going to score a goal? No. Everything that happens with him is coincidental and instinctive. He doesn’t interact or integrate with the team at all.”
Rashford is part of a front three which is below the Manchester United standard
Parker continues, saying that Rashford’s contribution to the team is not enough but he is a big player and United need him to perform, despite not being a bankable player.
“He gives away the ball quite cheaply and then he walks back. He doesn’t give enough to the team. But he is a big player because of the goals he has scored and Man United need their big players to perform.
“The problem is that they can’t continue to rely on a player that doesn’t perform or makes his teammates look better.”
The former England international concludes that Rashford is part of a front three that is well below the standard of what a Manchester United front three should be.
“He has been a part of a front three that has led the club down and is so far away from what a front three should be at Man United with the standard the fans have been used to.”