Wayne Rooney insists confidence is key for Marcus Rashford

Manchester United legend Wayne Rooney has expressed his thoughts on Marcus Rashford’s current form for both club and country. 

The 23-year-old recently netted his 100th career goal for the Reds and is enjoying a fine season so far under Erin ten Hag, who looks to have given Rashford a confidence boost and is rewarding him with game time each week.

Last season, Rashford looked like a shadow of his former self. Not only due to a lack of goal contributions, but on the pitch, he often looked frustrated and exasperated.

So far in 2022/2023, the forward has scored eight and assisted three goals in 19 appearances across all competitions – outdoing his contributions from the whole of last season.

At international level, he has been exceptional too. He was named in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad to represent England at the World Cup. In three appearances, he has scored three times and been an invaluable player in the Three Lions’ progression to the Round of 16.

Rooney’s praise and analysis of Rashford

Writing in The Times, Rooney weighed in on Rashford’s recent matches and start to the campaign. He said: “Confidence is the key with him.
During the first half against Wales he was a bit sloppy and gave the ball away a few times, but didn’t let it get him down. You can see the difference between Marcus now, and Marcus when he was struggling last season, in his mannerisms. He is smiling a lot more, running with the ball, being more direct. I think we’ve seen the same change in him at Manchester United, where Erik ten Hag has done a great job in managing him.

It looks like Marcus is in a much better place in his head and the big thing, for me, is that during Covid he did so much campaigning work and got involved with a lot of stuff off the pitch. His achievements were incredible, but I think it might have been a bit too much for him. Rather than being able to just focus on his football, there was a lot on his plate, whereas what we’ve seen this season is very much a focus on football first rather than anything else. From some of the goals he has scored, you can see he is in a different headspace.

“I watched Marcus develop at Manchester United and there are not many players with his speed and direct running at goal. You never know how much football players these days actually watch but I know from being in camps that at tournaments you sit around together watching a lot of games as a group. And I reckon, watching France, Marcus will be watching Kylian Mbappé and how, when he gets the ball on the left, he is so fast and direct. I reckon Marcus will be looking at Mbappé and thinking, ‘I can do that’.”

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