Former Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho doesn’t believe Marcus Rashford is suited to playing as a central striker.
The England international played over 100 games for Mourinho during his tenure at Old Trafford, with the Portuguese coach deploying Rashford right across the forward line and even filling in at wing-back on occasion.
Should Rashford play on the left? Five things to know…
- Rashford partnered Daniel James in a split striker system vs Liverpool.
- Andreas Pereira’s presence through the middle allowed Rashford to drift wide.
- Rashford completed four dribbles and opened the scoring in arguably his strongest performance of the 2019/20 season.
- He also scored a fine individual goal for England cutting in from the left-hand against Bulgaria last week.
- Mourinho believes Rashford is far more suited to playing out wide.
Rashford himself has often expressed a desire to play through the middle but Mourinho is one of many who thinks the 21-year-old is more suited coming in from the left-hand side.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer played a split striker system during Man United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool, during which Rashford was given licence to drift out wide. The Norwegian was rewarded with arguably Rashford’s strongest club performance of the season.
The forward’s encouraging performance comes after Gareth Southgate fielded Rashford on the left during England’s recent 6-0 win over Bulgaria, with the Wythenshawe-born forward using his pace and trickery to cut inside and bag a fine individual goal in Sofia.
It is this position where Mourinho feels Rashford is at his best as it allows him to run at opponents.
“I always thought his best position is when he comes from the left to the centre, not when he’s a clear number nine,” Mourinho told Sky Sports on Sunday.
“I always thought it was better for him to come from the side, especially the left side.”
Speaking alongside Mourinho, former Man United captain Roy Keane agreed that Rashford isn’t suited to playing through the middle.
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“The hardest position to play at Old Trafford is up through the middle,” the Irishman said. “Playing with his back to goal is not one of his strengths.”
Solskjaer: Rashford is a scorer of great goals
Although Solskjaer is adamant Rashford is able to play anywhere across the forward line, he has conceded that the youngster is currently a “scorer of great goals” rather than a great goalscorer, something the Man United boss is looking to change moving forward.
“Marcus is a centre forward who can play left, right and as a No 10,” Solskjaer said after the match.
“He wants to be able to play all the positions. I want him to be facing the goal, I want to be direct and attacking quickly, so at the moment I see him coming in off the left or as part of a two up front.
“Marcus’ movement is great, but maybe we just need to give him a game or two of rest because he’s played a lot. Sometimes, because he’s a young boy with lots of expectations on his shoulders, he’s played four or five seasons now, and yet he’s still not even 22 yet.
“He’s a scorer of great goals, as he did for England. I want him to become a great goalscorer – and that’s a different mentality. At the moment, he’s learning his trade.”