Are Man Utd about to use Rashford as a central striker again? Ten Hag quizzed on positional plans for forward

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Marcus Rashford Anthony Martial Manchester United Forest 2022-23
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Marcus Rashford has 20 goals for the season at Manchester United and Erik ten Hag admits he could be used as a central striker on a regular basis.
  • England international back in form
  • Used on both flanks by Red Devils
  • Can also operate down the middle

WHAT HAPPENED? The Red Devils have experimented with that approach before, with the England international forward claiming in the past that he saw himself becoming a No.9. Rashford never truly convinced when asked to lead the line for United, leading to him being moved back out on to either flank, but his welcome return to form in 2022-23 – as the likes of Antony, Jadon Sancho and Alejandro Garnacho provide alternative options on the wing – has led to suggestions that Rashford could be shifted down the middle as Anthony Martial and Wout Weghorst fill back-up roles.

WHAT THEY SAID: Asked if he could start to field Rashford as a central frontman after seeing the 25-year-old find the target yet again in a 2-2 draw with Leeds, Ten Hag told reporters: “First off, this game, we analyse it, we will reflect on this game. Then we will see how the team is and then we will start our efforts. I'm very pleased Marcus is scoring from all the positions. You see his stats, he's scoring from the left, right, middle. It doesn't matter. He's always a good option to play on the right. We can move him around and give a different dynamic in a game. Against Burnley, he scored from the right. Great goals. Marcus can score from anywhere, it doesn’t matter if it is in the right, the centre or the left. He is scoring everywhere and, today, he scored again.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Rashford started on the right against Leeds, with Garnacho on the left and Antony nursing an injury, but was moved inside when Sancho and Facundo Pellistri were introduced as second-half substitutes. Ten Hag added on the tactical poser he faces: “It’s difficult to analyse but I think after we made that change it’s different for the opponent, it’s difficult for the opponent, because the dynamic changed. The defenders are in a certain way. They are anticipating on a certain attack then all of a sudden everything is changing, where we moved not only Rashford but we brought in Sancho and we brought in Pellistri.”

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Marcus Rashford goal celebration

Erik ten Hag Manchester United 2022-23


WHAT NEXT? Ten Hag will have more big selection calls to make when United face Leeds again in the Premier League on Sunday, with Rashford in contention to lead the line if January signing Weghorst is rotated out.