Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has revealed he was excited to work with Marcus Rashford before he arrived and has put the forward’s recent rejuvenation down to enjoying himself again.
Rashford endured the worst season of his career in 2021/22, starting the campaign recuperating from shoulder surgery and posting his lowest ever single season goal tally – even scoring fewer than he did in just 18 games as an 18-year-old at the end of 2015/16.
But Rashford more than anyone has characterised United’s turnaround in recent weeks since shock back-to-back defeats against Brighton and Brentford.
He scored in the catalyst win over Liverpool, assisted the winner against Leicester and had a direct hand in all three goals United scored against Arsenal. The latter two performances earned him September’s Premier League Player of the Month award.
“From day one, I was so excited to work with him,” Ten Hag, who was himself named Manager of the Month, told Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.
“I already knew the huge impact he can have and now he is bringing potential every game and decisions on the pitch. That’s why I’m happy with his development.”
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Asked how he has been able to get the best out of Rashford again, the United boss replied: “I told him on day one, ‘I want to see you smile every day’.
“We prepare good training sessions and it is up to you to love the training and give it your best because when you have pressure and enjoy the training, you can give your best and will improve. Life is easy because your performance has gone up.”