Jordan Henderson must find way to translate club form to country

Jordan Henderson has had to fight for respect as a Liverpool player. He might be the club captain and a key part of Jurgen Klopp’s side, but Henderson hasn’t always been a favourite, even for his own supporters. Times have changed, though.

Liverpool’s midfield can be difficult to understand. Unlike Manchester City, the Reds don’t have a defined mould for their midfielders. Klopp demands that each of his central trio perform different roles, occupying different areas of the pitch. Henderson has become an integral part of what the German coach has built.

But while Henderson has more than earned his keep at Anfield, the 29-year-old hasn’t yet been able to translate his club form into the performances for his country. England could use a midfielder of his type, someone who can pick up the ball and drive it forward into the attacking third.

England have made great progress under Gareth Southgate, demonstrated by their performance at last summer’s World Cup and their displays at last year’s Nations League, but there remains a hole at the centre of his team. The Three Lions lack a figure to dictate play through the middle. Henderson will likely never be that figure, but he could still bring something they currently don’t have.

The hope is that James Maddison will give England the creative force they need around the edge of the opposition box. Looking further into the future, Phil Foden has been ear-marked as the player Southgate needs to take his side to the next level. It hasn’t helped that Foden is struggling for game time at Manchester City currently.

In the meantime, though, Henderson could be pushed further up the field, a position Klopp has used the 29-year-old in on occasion. With the 2020 European Championships already starting to appear on the horizon, Southgate must start settling on solutions to some of his problems and Henderson might offer him one.

Henderson is a first team pick for Southgate, with the Liverpool man expected to be England’s holding midfielder alongside Declan Rice who has made quite the impression since forcing his way into the national team reckoning last season. But Southgate must find a way to get more out of a player who is proving a real difference-maker at club level. Far from being a cause of England’s problems, he could be a solution.

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Three U-23 players to keep an eye on throughout the Premier League season

As gameweek one has come to an end, a large number of Premier League supporters will have already predicted which teams will have a successful season and which specific individuals will go on to being the game changers compared to the rest of the players in the top flight of English football.

Meanwhile, a small group of young talents are aiming to have a bright season at a personal level and are looking to make a name for themselves. A lot of these youngsters will be looking up to the likes of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, James Maddison and Matteo Guendouzi, players who had their breakout moment over the last 12 months and are now seen as a hot property by their club and manager.

With no further ado, it’s time to look at the three U-23 players to keep an eye on this campaign.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Although he has had a decent amount of first-team experience under Antonio Conte and Maurizio Sarri, Callum Hudson-Odoi will be hoping that the managerial arrival of Frank Lampard will allow him to play on a regular basis. Also, the fact that Eden Hazard left a month ago and the club are not able to bring in any players for another transfer window, it may grant him a couple of chances to prove himself.

Currently on the sidelines after rupturing his Achilles’ tendon at the end of last season, the 19-year-old is expected to return to full training over the next couple of weeks before he begins to feature on the pitch once again. Once he gets going and is back on the pitch, there is no doubt at all that he goes straight into the Chelsea team, as they are currently lack pure quality in the final third of the pitch.

With the side missing a player that can take the game by the scruff of the neck or create something out of nothing, the return of Hudson-Odoi would help the team’s creativity and movement on and off the ball massively whilst the likes of Christian Pulisic and Tammy Abraham will benefit from his presence. For the sure, the departure of Hazard may hurt the Blues mentally in the long run, but they have a player in Hudson-Odoi that can confidently open up a defensive side and come up with the vital contributions. 

Max Aarons

Reviewing Norwich City’s last year in the Championship, they could have easily fallen down into the play-off area rather than winning the league, if it wasn’t for the crucial shift that Max Aarons had completed on both sides of the pitch. From being a speedy outlet on the flanks as a full-back to completing the required defensive duties, the youngster has it all to be a top player in his specific position.

If he goes on to replicating the same types of performances in the top tier of English football, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see both Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur gain interest in the player once again. However, the standards between both leagues are massively high, as Aarons’ discipline and positional awareness will have to be top notch in what could be his breakout year of his professional career.

Given that the attacking-minded players in Emiliano Buendia and Todd Cantwell are expected to be constantly marked by the opposition, Norwich have a full-back to rely on to make those striding runs down the wings and to put in the inch-perfect crosses into someone like Teemu Pukki. Also, a consistent campaign for the rising talent could see him become one of the best players in his department within the league.

Sean Longstaff

Newcastle United are going through a serious transition period, as they attempt to put the Rafa Benitez era behind themselves as well as produce new memories under manager Steve Bruce. Though, one of the positives that the Toons will have become aware of throughout this year, has been the incredible rise of central-midfielder Sean Longstaff, someone who spent a crucial loan at League one side Blackpool during the 2017-18 season and is now being a regular starter in top flight football.

At the age of 21, the youngster is living the dream that all young English football supporters have of playing in the Premier League and for their local club. And not only that, he received a new four-year deal back in November 2018, and is already expected to receive another huge increase over the next couple of weeks, as Manchester United were regularly interested in the Newcastle-born midfielder in recent months.

If Longstaff can go on to reaching his potential and the expectation of the Newcastle supporters, then the team will surely have stabilised midfield that allows them to push for success in the domestic competition and also aim for a higher finish in the league. If and once that eventually happens, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the club requesting for £50million and over for the player, purely to ward off any interest from other clubs.

Why is Leicester City’s Harry Maguire worth £80m?

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Leicester City’s Harry Maguire is being chased by both Manchester clubs with City, the current champions looking the favourites from the two to get his signature. But the asking price seems incredibly inflated. The Foxes want £80m for their defender- the genuine question is, how did they get to this figure?

Maguire has won no major trophies in his career and he is 26- he has never played for a top 4 side, not even top 6. Though he did join Leicester the season after they were declared champions. Has the price been inflated then because he is a current England international player with 20 caps- it does seem so.

The reality of the situation is that in the current price market Maguire is worth no more than £35m, and teams valuations of players has gone through the roof. Sadly for Premier League clubs selling on English players it has always been like this, when a few extra million seems to attach onto any fee.

City and United have the money but City have taken over United now and they will most likely get his signature. No one is denying that Maguire could become a better all round player at City and put in good displays, but City will not be making any money on the player in the future- indeed his value if sold for £80m will start to decrease the moment he puts pen to paper.

The reality of it is is that Leicester have no right to ask so much for the player, the price compared to what Maguire has achieved has no justification, plain and simple.

England’s manager Gareth Southgate hasn’t helped the situation, he once ill advised that Maguire was one of the best defenders in the world. Again totally unjustified. Maguire is a good defender and would never have made it in England’s set up otherwise and starred of course in a World Cup which saw England reach the semi-final stages. But one of the best makes little sense for a player who has played in his career for the likes of Hull and Leicester and we need to be realistic of that fact.

For now United have lodged a £70m bid which is ridiculous in and of itself, and Leicester had the bravado to turn that down and then ask for £10m extra. The fear for United is that their rivals will seriously start sniffing around and come in for the player. But no team is getting a good deal or bargain here.

 

 

Top Premier League Goalkeepers in 2018/19: Jordan Pickford

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England’s number 1 goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was able to play some pivotal moments in Everton’s up and down season which saw the Mersey siders finish the season strong after a slow and poor start could have caused an early exit for new manager Marco Silva.

All eyes were on Pickford to see if he could ‘earn’ Everton some valuable points and he ended up keeping 14 clean sheets, 2 better than Hugo Llroris who finished above him in the rankings.

Pickford’s season started out as a nightmare as he saw Everton not only struggle for points but also kept conceding goals and it meant than in his first six games he had yet to earn a point and in fact was on -10 points.

Pickford’s first points of the season didn’t actually come until the end of September, when at Goodison Park, the Toffees were able to beat Fulham 3-0 thus earning Pickford 7 points for his clean sheet.

The Everton keeper’s best period of the season started in mid March and ran through to the beginning of May where from 7 league games he kept 6 clean sheets and Everton found a new belief, finishing the season strong and beating the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United. Indeed the club beat United 4-0 and that was seen as one of the biggest surprises of the season and a wake up call for them.

Pickford was also involved in the 0-0 game against Liverpool. This is a match that Everton fans will remember for some time given that it was the last time that Jurgen Klopp’s team dropped points during the season and thus, in theory, Everton stopped Liverpool from winning the league, something that Pickford and the club and fans would be very happy about given the rivalry between the sides.

Pickford wasn’t without criticism this season and that is a given. Simply put because he is England’s number 1 there will always be the spotlight on him. His worst match came against Tottenham just before Christmas where Everton, at home, were thrashed by Mauricio Pochettino’s side 6-2 in an embarrassing game for the Toffees who certainly came unstuck and as a result Pickford earned -10 points. Indeed had Pickford never experienced that game he would have finished 3rd in the rankings.

The conclusion was that Pickford finished 5th and 19th overall for goalkeepers in Europe. He finished with a points total of 53, this is his best of his career so far and he will be looking to impress next season with England manager Gareth Southgate watching on as Euro 2020 gears up.

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Tottenham’s Harry Kane could burn out if he doesn’t protect himself

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It was unfortunate to see such a lethargic display from Harry Kane in the Champions League final after the Tottenham striker returned from injury and was immediately put into the first team. Kane is one of the very best prospects in England but the player needs to be protected and mainly from himself.

We do not have to doubt Kane’s goal scoring abilities and his eye for goal and work rate in the area is brilliant. He is so precise and if anyone does want to doubt Kane’s abilities as a striker then his 164 goals in 253 appearances for Tottenham should put that to bed.

But here’s the problem and it cuts both ways with coaches and Kane himself- he needs to know and they need to know when the player needs rest.

Before the Champions League final Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was asked why he brought Kane straight back into the team forcing Lucas Moura the hat trick hero in the semi-final win over Ajax to be dropped to the bench? Pochettino reacted as if the interviewer was pulling his leg, such is Kane’s importance to the team, but it was arguably wrong to think that and it was a genuine question. Had Moura been returning from injury, he still would have started the final from the bench, and yet Kane was brought in. True he is special to the club but he was still slightly rusty after having missed almost the last two months of football. It was the wrong choice to start him.

That was proven in a game where Kane was almost invisible. Again not his fault, this was the final and he wasn’t about to miss it but Kane’s inclusion actually helped Liverpool, because it felt for the most part that Tottenham were playing with 10 men, he was that quiet.

A few days later England were playing the Netherlands in the UEFA Nations Cup and England manager Gareth Southgate absolutely did the right thing in not starting Kane but bringing him on later in the game. No matter if England eventually lost the match, Kane’s presence or not wouldn’t have made the difference as he is still clearly recovering.

The problem was that after the game Kane was interviewed where he remained positive and upbeat and told journalists that he would get right back to fitness, go for a run on the beach and hit the gym.

Whilst Kane’s words would seem normal to any day footballer who is 25 remember the problem is that Kane doesn’t seem to be listening to his own body. He missed two chunks of the season because of injury and his quality is such that Tottenham cannot really afford to be without him for long periods. And when he gets injured his willingness to get fit quicker than expected seems to hamper his recovery time. So when he is ready to return, he actually really isn’t.

Southgate did the right thing Pochettino to a lesser extent didn’t. But Kane also needs to listen to his own body, the last thing anyone wants to see is a career where he keeps picking up injuries here and there and doesn’t get a good run of games under his belt. He is a special talent and he needs to be looked after.

How will England adapt to Life without Kane in the Nations League?

Harry Kane has been assured by Gareth Southgate that he will be included in the squad for the concluding matches of the Nations League, despite the Spurs striker being almost certain to be well short of full fitness.

Despite his mooted inclusion in the squad, Southgate may feel unable to risk Kane in the semi-final against the Netherlands on June 6. This could open a door for Marcus Rashford or Raheem Sterling to stake their claim as the Three Lions’ lead man.

Kane will feel that the injury came at the worst possible time, with the small matter of Spurs’ Champions League final. However, the striker should take comfort that a Kane-less Spurs just about managed to cling on to a spot in the top four. Despite their utterly remarkable triumphs over Manchester City and Ajax in the Champions League, Spurs have unsurprisingly looked worse without Kane for the most part. Southgate will hope that the same isn’t true for England.

There’s also another unconventional aspect we’re missing here. Harry Kane’s absence has not only been keenly felt by Mauricio Pochettino, but by a plethora of fantasy sports managers across the world. While they can’t quite match the Champions League in terms of finances or prestige, there are often vast prizes and pride at stake for fantasy football bosses.

Kane’s relentless prolificacy in front of goal (apart from in August, of course) made him the cornerstone of many fantasy football teams. We'll just have to wait and see how that will pan out. Kane’s absence at the business end this season forced managers to rethink their reliance on the Spurs striker. Unfortunately for Southgate, few of the potential replacements in fantasy football sides were English. Most turned to Sergio Aguero or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, but Southgate has no such luxury. While there are few all-around strikers of Kane’s calibre, Southgate does have some different forwards options at his disposal.

Given Jamie Vardy’s retirement from internationals, the natural replacement appears to be Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford. His England record of six goals in 31 appearances isn’t impressive at face value, but Rashford’s youth and wider position should be factored in. Four goals in 16 appearances for England in 2018 shows that his scoring record is improving as he matures. Three of those goals took England into the lead, revealing that Rashford has Kane’s knack of scoring crucial goals.

However, Rashford’s season has stagnated with Manchester United’s, and he hardly heads to Portugal in a rich vein of form. Someone whose form hasn’t dropped all season is Raheem Sterling, who Southgate could turn to as a more unconventional lead striker. Vardy ended the season as the leading English scorer in the Premier League, but it was Kane and Sterling who were just one behind on 17.

Sterling has shown beyond doubt that he is one of the world’s finest attackers, one that has the intelligence to operate anywhere in the final third. Given that the Netherlands are likely to line up with Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt in central defence, a forward of Sterling’s style could pose the most problems. The Dutch duo are among the world’s best, but they have both shown a mild vulnerability to nimble forwards in recent Champions League matches.

Van Dijk struggled with Luis Suarez’s movement, while de Ligt was unable to contain Lucas Moura. Sterling could play a similar role to Moura in Kane’s absence. While you want your best players in their best positions, Sterling has the ability and the confidence to provide a viable Plan B for when Kane is unfit or misfiring. If it works in the Nations League, it may give Southgate food for thought when competitive internationals swing back round.

UEFA have got it wrong fining Montenegro just €20,000 after racist chants against Raheem Sterling

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After England international Raheem Sterling was subjected to vile racist abuse in England’s Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro the Manchester City playmaker said “It sounds harsh, but which fan will risk racist behaviour if it might relegate their team or ruin their title bid? Small fines do no damage to clubs and countries, but one group of people who do have the money to make them take notice are sponsors. The next time that a club or governing body fails to act appropriately against racism, I would love to see that company pull its money out and make a moral stand. I don’t know how long it will take for things to change but we have to start now. I don’t want the next generation of black players to have to put up with this evil.”

So it seems a slap in the face that UEFA have announced that Montenegro will face a fine of just 20,000 euros, a figure that is totally affordable to the nation. But wait there’s more they will also play their next match against Kosovo on June 7th behind closed doors. And that is that. Case closed.

UEFA have ended up handing out a very standard fine, something we have seen for the past 15-20 years in European football. If racist chants against black players were happening years ago and these type of fines were applied, why is it that nothing has changed in 2019?

UEFA’s decision to hand such a small fine and a one match behind closed doors is simply mindboggling, it makes absolutely no sense. It also takes Sterling’s words and throws it in the nearest bin- it feels as though himself and other countless black players have been silenced. The small fine will not stop racist chanting happening again. And Sterling was right to pick out sponsors that is UEFA’s life blood. Could you imagine McDonald’s pulling out of football- now that would make UEFA think.

So what should UEFA have done? They had two choices. The first would have been to  keep to a fine but instead make it 10 times more and get the national side to play half of their remaining games behind closed doors, but let away fans in.

The second would be simply to have kicked the team out of the competition. This seems incredibly harsh because at the end of the day it isn’t the players fault, but it would have set such a brutal barrier as to have a zero tolerance attitude on racism.

Instead and sadly Montenegro have been fined just like other clubs and nations over the years, a small amount that feels like a slap on the wrist- and an open letter to make racism boil over once again in the future.

 

Wolves 2-1 Man Utd: Top four hopes are starting to run away from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United had a big chance to go into top three spots for the first time since the start of the season, with their next fixture being against Wolves, a side that are in the top half of the table and have produced several huge results against the league’s top-six this term.

Looking at it as a whole, United created a few big chances in the first half and dominated the possession of the ball for majority of the game, but still went on to only score once throughout the whole match. Meanwhile, Wolves defended confidently in their own half and were able to use the man advantage to their extent, when Ashley Young was sent off in the 57th minute of the contest.

The Red Devils took the lead through Scott McTominay, who scored his first Premier League goal for United as his well-taken shot somehow went past Rui Patricio and into the back of the net. However, the hosts equalised and cancelled out the visitor’s lead in 12 minutes, with a tidy finish from Diogo Jota following a lack of communication from the likes of Ashley Young, David De Gea and Fred.

Things went from bad to worse for the visitors in the second half, as Young’s red card led Solskjaer with no choice but to bring off Fred, to allow defender Phil Jones to enter the pitch in order to gain stability. Not long after that, Wolves were on their way to a comeback, as a counterattack led through the flanks ended with an unsurprising mistake from De Gea whilst Chris Smalling drifted the ball slowly into the net.

Here are the three valuable factors we learnt from Manchester United’s latest league game…

Big chances missed in the first half

United had the perfect start to the game at the Mollineux Stadium, right up until the equaliser from Diogo Jota, where they were enjoying the ball on both sides of the pitch and were progressing into the opposition’s half through the middle and the flanks. A few minutes into the game, Romelu Lukaku had the perfect chance to score from an inch-perfect cross by Diogo Dalot, which was unfortunately headed straight at the keeper.

On the other hand, Jesse Lingard also had a good cross from the left flank and opted to head the ball towards goal, which took the pace and height off the ball before it reached towards the defender and the goalkeeper. With these two big chances, United would have had a comfortable and straightforward 2-0 or 3-0 lead before Jota had scored, allowing the side to not drop momentum going into the half-time break.

The big game players in David De Gea and Paul Pogba seemed distracted

When it comes to intense fixtures like these and ones that can play a major role in finishing in the top four, one would expect the main key players in the team to lead by example and to help restore confidence and faith into the team. Though, this was not done at all by David De Gea and Paul Pogba, two individuals who were not at their best and have been below par in recent weeks whilst the rest have been lacking badly too.

For sure, both players are seen as the club’s two main assets on and off the pitch, and they may be linked with the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid, but they have not done enough to show why they deserved a massive contract extension. The duo may feel uninterested with the club’s lack of ambitions, but they cannot be lacking professionally at this stage of the season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a massive task from now till the end of the season

Just under a week ago, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was over the moon as he received the news that he has become Manchester United’s permanent manager for the next three years. However, he will feel the hardest part of the job will be now, as he just about beat Watford on the weekend and has now suffered a defeat to Wolves, which leaves them in fifth-place as Arsenal and Spurs have a game in hand to play very shortly.

Having a quick look at the fixtures remaining, the Red Devils have to still face the likes of Chelsea, Everton and Manchester City in the league whilst going head-to-head against Barcelona in the Champions League. With how the circumstances have changed and how quick and fast the matches are coming, it seems very unlikely that Manchester United will go on to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

Manchester United 2-1 Watford: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wins his first game as permanent manager

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Manchester United had the chance to re-enter the top four positions for the first time in recent weeks, with their next fixture being at home to Watford, a side that have won five league games away from home and are sat in the middle of the table. With Arsenal playing on Monday and Tottenham facing Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, it was a massive must for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men to achieve the much needed three points as well as the victory itself in a dominant manner.

As a whole, the visitors were the ones who surprisingly started the game and ended the game on a high note, where they forced the hosts to sit deep for majority of the first half but failed to create the clear chances to test the goalkeeper David De Gea. However, the first goal of the match actually came from United, as Marcus Rashford latched onto Luke Shaw’s perfect through ball and swept it passed Ben Foster, who had rushed out from his line to do his best to put the centre forward off.

Following the Rashford goal, the Red Devils completed the first half in the ideal way, but could have done more to complete the win with the number of shots they had on goal. The two main attempts that will be remembered the most by the Old Trafford faithful at the half time break would be, Anthony Martial’s chance from a corner which was literally hit straight at Foster, and the other one being Rashford’s dribble from the right into the middle but the shot not causing any problems at all as the defenders had it covered.

The second half was the same as the first, with Watford dominating the possession of the ball and grew in more confidence by the minute whilst United were not sure whether to sit deep or to press high up the pitch. United thought the game was set and match with Martial scoring for the home team in the 72nd minute, though, the side faced a huge scare towards the end of the match as Abdoulaye Doucoure pulled a goal back for Javi Garcia’s men, who were simply not ready to give up till the final whistle.

Here are the three valuable factors we learnt from Manchester United’s latest league game…

Midfield were ineffective and sloppy

As the usual midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba came out to play at Old Trafford against Watford, it felt like the three players had not played for a long time or were not familiar of one another. The balance on both sides of the pitch was not there, as they looked out of their depth in the opposition’s half and could not defend consistently enough when required.

Both Matic and Pogba had quite a few poor moments throughout the match, where they lost possession of the ball easily and were unable to pick out the simplest of passes. Meanwhile, Herrera was alright to some extent but failed to influence the game as a whole. Given the performances in midfield, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see Fred or Scott McTominay return into the team for the Wolves fixture on Tuesday night.

Watford will surely end the season on a high note

It’s been quite some time where a team from outside of the Premier League top-six had dominated and overrun the hosts at Old Trafford whilst looking like they are going onto to win the match. If Watford had an attacking midfielder with pace and trickery and a much more complete forward, they would have surely converted one of the eight shots they had on target before Doucoure had scored in the final minutes of the game.

Although the current focus is on who will win the league, who will finish in the top four and who will be relegated to the Championship, Javi Garcia’s Watford deserve more appreciation and credit for the type of football they are playing and how well they have done against the bigger teams. Leicester City and Wolves have received a lot of gratitude in recent months for their desire and results in the huge games, but it’s time for Watford to get their fair share of recognition of how they have managed to do it their way.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer showed when and how to make changes

The questions were raised during the matches against Arsenal and Wolves a few weeks ago, on if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has the intelligence to understand when to make the substitutions and how to change the game around. In the first game after the international break, the 46-year-old Norwegian international proved the critics wrong with the two changes that helped his side to win the game.

Solskjaer showed off his cleverness in the second half of the match, where he brought on both Andreas Pereira and Jesse Lingard for Ander Herrera and Juan Mata, two players that went on to inject more energy and pace into the side’s midfield and attack. Ten minutes after that, Ole was forced into bringing Martial off due to a minor knock he picked up, but was smart in adding Marcos Rojo into the team and went to a back-three setup, as Watford started to pile on the pressure and were looking for the equaliser.

Digging deep into the potential that Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford has

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When you look at Manchester United’s attack, you see two bright and talented gems in Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, two individuals who have the capability of becoming Premier League beaters within the matter of months. However, the duo’s development has been stagnated and been put on pause, due to the fact that Jose Mourinho has failed to them both to the next level.

The inconsistencies and issues to be clinical in front of goal have been there, but the attackers have been unable to take the game up a notch during the 56-year-old Portuguese international’s three years at Old Trafford. Since the arrival of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Rashford has been able to pick up his fine form once again whilst Martial has had problems with injuries and small struggles off the pitch.

Now, focusing more onto Marcus Rashford, he has huge potential at a young age and the type of player he wants to become is an important choice to make. Having played a large number of games as a winger whilst being utilised in a more central position recently, it is more than crucial for the youngster to recognise which role suits him best, which is starting to become clear as time goes on.

At the age of 21, the Wythenshawe-born star has already achieved crucial goals against the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. Not only that, he has impressively scored on his debuts in majority of the competitions, from the Europa League in May 2016 to the Champions League in September 2018, allowing him to become an instant fans favourite.

Looking at the numbers he is producing in the Premier League, he is expected to reach double figures before the season comes to an end, as he is currently on nine goals with eight games remaining. And even when he is not shooting from distance or isn’t ruthless with his finishing, he has put his team-mates into good scoring opportunities, helping him to reach to a number of six assists.

Once the season comes to an end, majority of the Old Trafford faithful as well as the Premier League experts will be expecting the Englishman to consistently hit double figures in terms of goals and assists for the next five to ten years. This will only be possible if the team is built around him, as he has completed fewer shots in the penalty area (37) than the regular forwards in Jamie Vardy (49), Joshua King (44) and Salomon Rondon (50), summing up the side’s lack of attacking identity.

For sure, Rashford’s dribbling ability and burst of pace will give him the advantage over a majority of centre-backs and full-backs, but it’s his decision making and lack of concentration in the final third that prevents him from being compared to the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Ousmane Dembele. If he was to improve on these two areas, he will be seen as the perfect striker for both club and country.

He may want to look at the careers of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, two players who were very successful at Manchester United, with the former still being seen as one of the best footballers in the world whilst the other suffered a decline which led him to the Major Soccer League (MLS). The only difference between the pair is that one of them devoted their body and whole life to nothing but football whilst the other enjoyed a number of perfect seasons but failed to look after himself.

Overall, the world is at his feet and he will be going through a lot of good moments and bad moments through his career, where his mindset and reactions will be the major role that plays in the outcome. As long as he is developed and improved by the right manager and coaching team, there should not be a problem at all for Marcus Rashford to go on to become a top forward or winger.