Former Premier League Forward Louis Saha Urges Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford To Go Back To Basics

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Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford suffered an uncharacteristic drop off in not only form, but also effort, last season – leading former Reds marksman Louis Saha to speak some words of advice in the media this week.

Saha knows a little bit about becoming and remaining an important cog in United’s attack, having scored 42 goals in 124 appearances for the Old Trafford side over a span of four years.

The former French international also had his fair share of bumps and bruises throughout his career, making him a trusty source of information for someone who – like Rashford – has had to fend off a couple of career threatening injuries over the last two years.

In an interview with the PA News Agency, Saha spoke about what he thinks United’s No.10 should do in order to rediscover his form.

“He needs to come back to the basics,” Saha said. “It’s strange what I’m going to say, but maybe not copy Cristiano Ronaldo. Copy some of the other teammates who are young. You need to get back to the young Rashford, having that simplicity in his game and running at players, not thinking about whatever the status that he had or he has been given by the press or his entourage. He has suffered a lot from that. ”

Saha makes a strong argument. The younger Rashford with simplicity in his game put up two outstanding seasons, statistically and otherwise, before tumbling down the slippery slope of health problems.

A young Marcus Rashford battling against England teammate Kyle Walker.  (Alamy)
A young Marcus Rashford battling against England teammate Kyle Walker. (Alamy)

In the season prior to sustaining a potentially career altering back injury, Rashford scored 22 goals – his first 20+ season – and chipped in with 12 assists in all competitions to emerge as a leader in United’s front line.

It’s worth noting that Rashford was forced to withdraw from the above season in January. He was on pace for a historic year.

The following season, the 24-year-old came back reinvigorated and scored 21 goals along with 15 assists in all competitions to show that all was well and his recovery was smooth.

But a curious shoulder injury popped up in November of that campaign and forced the academy graduate onto the surgery table in the summer following the European Championships.

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Combined, Rashford missed 246 days of football as a result of those injuries which both required procedures done on them. Upon his return each time, he was never really allowed the time to be eased back in.

Only being a mortal human, that is bound to take its toll. However, football fandom is unforgiving and Rashford has been on the receiving end of a lot of hardship through his struggles.

Marcus Rashford has dealt with a number of injuries at Manchester United since his rise from the academy.  (Alamy)
Marcus Rashford has dealt with a number of injuries at Manchester United since his rise from the academy. (Alamy)

In spite of that, Saha remains a big fan of his game and trusts that the Wythenshawe born forward has all the tools to get back to the levels he was once soaring at.

Saha said: “I think he’s a terrific player. I do not really understand why this happened because this guy has got it all. He’s got the quality, he’s got the speed, he’s got arrogance, dribbling and can score goals. ”

Having not been called up for the start of England’s UEFA Nations League campaign this month – on the back of a season with just five goals and two assists in all competitions – Rashford finally gets a summer where he is allowed a real break ahead of what is shaping up to be an intense pre-season under the watchful eye of new United boss, Erik ten Hag.

Erik ten Hag, new Manchester United manager.  (Alamy)
Erik ten Hag, new Manchester United manager. (Alamy)

With a new, attacking manager at the helm, Rashford has a clean canvas to paint his best art on. United would never give up on such a talented academy product without giving them a chance of revival, meaning a key role is there for the forward to claim, should he only want it. He can still be an outstanding asset for the club.

Ten Hag will also have to contribute. He will have additional time with players who did not go on international duty, like Rashford, before United jet off on their pre-season tour in early July.

That may prove to be a crucial time for some players. Saha thinks that on paper, Ten Hag is the right man for the job.

“I think he is communicating well,” Saha said. “That has been his strength but it will be on the field that we will be really judging, so what I say does not mean anything at the moment. He looks strong. He has the pedigree to do what we need in terms of creating some dynamic, but let’s see if he can provide the results. ”

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