Marcus Rashford made quite the impact on his return to Manchester United’s starting line-up and the forward is confident a recent lack of game time will not stunt his development.
The last few months have seen the 20-year-old England international’s remarkable rise plateau somewhat as he struggled for starts under Jose Mourinho.
Saturday’s clash with bitter rivals Liverpool was his first Premier League start since Boxing Day – and just his third in all competitions in 2018 – but there was little evidence of rust as Rashford netted a match-winning brace in a man-of-the-match display.
“It’s a big goal,” the Manchester-born attacker said after the 2-1 win.
“In these types of games, when the pressure is on you, you just be yourself and I think that’s what seems to happen in these games and the team seems to react well, when maybe we don’t react as well in other games.
“We need to take the confidence from this game into future games.”
Rashford certainly boosted his chance of earning another start against Sevilla in the Champions League on Tuesday.
It is the kind of occasion he would love to be a part of, but not necessarily one from which he will learn an enormous amount.
“Right now, I’m probably not learning the most on the pitch,” Rashford said. “In training is where I’m doing most of my learning.
“You have to take it into the game and today it worked.
“Personally, taking the confidence from this game into the next games is important.
“There’s lots of things (I’m learning). It is just the all-round game is starting to become more clear.
“Things this manager wants are becoming more clear to me. The more you do, the easier the results come on the pitch.”
Playing wide is improving the game of a player who feels “more comfortable in the middle”, but wherever he is deployed the need to “express yourself” is key.
But away from the field Rashford does not feel the need to express any frustration to Mourinho, thanks to maturity that belies his age.
“He doesn’t have to (speak to me),” the forward said. “In football you are going to be up, you’re going to be down.
“The most important thing is sticking together as a squad. Everyone turns up every day for training, we all work hard, we all do the necessary things.
“We are all in it together. Sometimes you are in the team, sometimes you are not in the team.
“When you are younger than I am, and you are learning the game, I think you do need it.
“But my experiences of the past – I understand that’s part of the game. There are 11 players that start, it’s just one of those things.”
Plus, there is little chance for Rashford to get down when he is around the likes of outgoing team-mate and close friend Jesse Lingard – an academy graduate whose patience eventually paid dividends at United.
“You can’t be depressed around me, I’m always winding him up,” Lingard said with a smile.
“It’s good that you can be around him to have a laugh and reassure him that it’s going to come good and that if he gets a chance he will perform, and he has done that today.
“It’s a big club with big players and for players like me and Marcus it’s going to be tough to start every game but once you are on the pitch you have got to make an impact and maybe next game you will be playing. But you’ve got to always work hard, and he does.
“I think it’s his mentality. He has got good people around him, and they always assure him he is in a good place at the moment and what kid wouldn’t want to be at Manchester United at the moment?
“He is doing well, he has come in and he has got the right mentality and he has shown the manager what he can do.”
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