Erik ten Hag believes the upturn in Marcus Rashford’s form is linked to the player’s personal happiness and says Manchester United remain in control of the forward’s future.
The 24-year-old scored twice in the 3-1 victory over Arsenal on Sunday to add to the goal he got in the win over Liverpool last month and looks rejuvenated after struggling for the last couple of seasons.
Many observers felt the forward needed to leave the club to get out of his rut, but his decision to stay appears to have been vindicated. His contract runs to next summer but United retain the option of another year and Ten Hag was asked whether the club were talking to him about that.
“Definitely,” he said. “I think United control the situation. I see a happy Marcus Rashford and I see some phases in his game which we could improve and we worked really hard the last two and a half months with him on different aspects.
“He really likes it and wants to transfer it to the pitch and that is what you see in this moment. It started with happiness. He comes in every day, he enjoys it, he is really smiling, with a really positive vibe and, if you put all those things together, like the way of playing, you want to transfer different aspects of your game and are happy, you will have more contribution to the team, the performance and the result – and of course to your development.”
Rashford has started all six of United’s matches but, despite his improved form, it is likely he will be rested for Thursday’s Europa League visit of Real Sociedad. Anthony Martial remains sidelined with an achilles injury, so Cristiano Ronaldo looks likely to get only his second start.
“He [Ronaldo] started against Brentford. Then not since but he is ready to start,” Ten Hag said. “We have to win every game, we want to win every tournament, so we take everything seriously.”