Manchester United will have been relieved for the international break after their draw against Everton last weekend showed there was plenty of work to be done over the next two weeks. Fortunately though, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side will have a timely boost in the form of Marcus Rashford’s return when domestic football resumes.
The England international has not featured for the Red Devils this term since receiving surgery on his shoulder, which had been causing him problems last season and during Euro 2020. Some feel the winger’s return will provide his manager with yet another selection headache, but Rashford could in fact be the missing link that will keep United on the trail of their fellow title chasers.
With United faltering in their bid to dominate games despite the abundance of attacking talent in their ranks, it seems the 23-year-old left-sided winger is what they are crying out for. Cristiano Ronaldo sent the red half of Manchester into chaos when his return to the club was announced in the summer, but it still feels as though there was no plan behind the transfer other than to prevent him moving to rivals Manchester City.
There is no doubting the quality the 36-year-old still possesses, but he is not able to carry out the amount of running that a United centre-forward is expected to do and while Rashford is not considered a number nine anymore, the way he can attack down the left is unrivalled by any of the attacking talent in the Old Trafford ranks.
His eagerly awaited return will give opposition right-backs food for thought when he comes charging at them and it will allow star signing Jadon Sancho to transfer back over to his more familiar position on the right wing. That position which he held for four years at Dortmund is where you get the best out of him, and he will surely start contributing to the goal burden once he settles in his usual role.
Solskjaer will be pleased when he is able to have both Rashford and Sancho on the pitch together because it will give United the chance to break into the final third quickly and via either side of the pitch. This will benefit Ronaldo, who conserves his energy for the final third, and he will be able to make those world-class off the shoulder runs and the club can reap the rewards from their attacking players showcasing their best attributes.
Rashford’s direct goal contributions in the Premier League last season totalled 20 (11 goals, nine assists) and his numbers will be crucial to the side this season once he returns to full fitness and regains his match sharpness. He has been back out on the grass at Carrington over the last couple of weeks, and he took part in his first taste of match action on Wednesday in a behind-closed-doors friendly with Blackburn Rovers. The Mancunian reportedly showed his class and made it look as if he was never away as his name appeared on the scoresheet in the 60-minute match.
"He looks so sharp since he's come back. He looks back to his best and I'm really excited to see him out there,” remarked goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
Everyone associated with United will be hoping his first taste of match action in months goes off without a hitch and his return to the front line after the international will give Solskjaer a completely different dynamic to strengthen his attacking lineup with.
When Manchester United return to action after the international break they take on Leicester City at the King Power Stadium, Betfred are currently offering EVS on the Red Devils to come out on top.