Manchester United V Nottingham Forest in pictures
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Manchester United star Marcus Rashford has been told why he is not the answer for Erik ten Hag in the Dutchman’s search for Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement, despite scoring in the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the Red Devils’ first Premier League match since the World Cup break. Anthony Martial started up front and also scored, though after he was substituted off Rashford moved centrally in his absence.
Rashford has operated as a centre-forward on several occasions this season, but Ten Hag has admitted that his side are looking to recruit further in the transfer market. Cody Gakpo was a target but United will have to look at other options after they were gazumped by Liverpool who are set to seal a potential £50million deal for the forward.
Newcastle legend Alan Shearer, on commentary duty for United’s win over Forest, felt that one moment in the game highlighted why Ronaldo is not suited to play centrally. In the second half, Alejandro Garnacho burst past Neco Williams on the left before playing a ball across the six-yard box but no United player was able to latch onto the cross.
“Rashford instead of attacking that near post, which I think he should have, he actually hangs out there [at the penalty spot] waiting for the ball to come to him,” Shearer told Amazon Prime Video Sport.
“If he had [gone to the near post] he would have got a tap-in. That’s why I think in terms of him being a centre-forward, just lacks that killer instinct, that natural ability to say ‘Yeah, I am going to get in there and get the two or three-yarders’, that you should get.
“No doubting his ability, he is a fantastic player. At 25 years of age it’s very difficult to do that [be taught that killer instinct], that’s why I think his best position is coming from the wide into where he has that space to run into. There’s no doubt he will score goals and a number of them, but just that killer instinct to be a centre-forward [is missing].”
After his goal against Forest and playing both out wide and through the middle, Rashford was asked which position he preferred to play.
He indicated that while he was adept in both roles, it depends on the type of opponents he is coming up against. “I think it depends on opposition,” Rashford told Amazon.
“It depends on the personality you’re playing against. More often than not I prefer to play on the left but if there’s a weakness in the middle or if there’s a certain player I feel I can exploit I like to have the freedom to move and do that.”
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