Erik ten Hag will finally get to see some of his stars in action for the first time this month as the club’s annual summer tour is underway.
The last two pre-season tours have been affected by COVID-19, making this year’s trip to Thailand and Australia their first overseas pre-season since 2019.
United endured one of their worst campaigns in the Premier League era and there will be several players desperate to put the record straight under Ten Hag, with Marcus Rashford primed to prove doubters wrong.
The 24-year-old struggled last year after recovering from two serious injuries and with just 12 months left on his current deal, he will be eager to find his form again.
Rashford surpassed 20 goals in consecutive campaigns prior to the 2021/22 season but managed just five in all competitions last term.
Now, he has been backed to prove doubters wrong by United hero Dwight Yorke, who says that Ten Hag should take him under his wing.
“As a coach now, a head coach, I’d be saying to him he will be playing,” Yorke told the official Manchester United website. “I remember my time at Aston Villa, when Brian Little came in. I was around 24 and he put his arm around me and said: ‘Listen, you are my guy, my go-to guy’
“When I look at what Rashford brings to the team, he’s a local lad for starters and has been at the club ever since [he was a kid]. He is very passionate about the club. He is quick, fast, can jink past defenders. He can score, he can create. I think we’ve got a player there who somehow needs a little bit of love and attention and also needs to hear the correct words, as to you are in that team, you are one of my main guys.
“I think if Erik can certainly take my advice, and I know he is vastly more experienced than me, it’s what I would be doing because I see a player.
“I was a player and I can see a player in Marcus, a guy who has an enormous amount of talent, an enormous amount of talent. Even in training, the kind of things he does.
“I’m just amazed he’s not in a good place for some reason and that’s part of the manager’s job, to make sure he gets him back playing the kind of football I know Marcus can produce. It’s just incredible.
“What I would be doing if I was Erik would be saying to Marcus: you are my guy, let’s get going again. Show him some trust and believe in him. I am sure he will be producing the goods I know that he is capable of.”
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer helped develop Rashford into a devastating winger but injuries have, unfortunately, taken a toll on the England international.
This summer will be his first full pre-season in three years and on top of that, his exclusion from the England camp in June offered him extra time off.
Ten Hag showed flexibility at Ajax, with his two successful sides being very different. But they had one thing in common and that was their threat from either flank. As things stand, United have just two senior out-and-out wingers available.
As much as Rashford will want to nail down a place, Ten Hag will depend on his number ten.