Friday 20 October 2017

Marcus Rashford focus

The ball was headed against Marcus Rashford for Manchester United's opening goal
The ball was headed against Marcus Rashford for Manchester United's opening goal

Marcus Rashford scored his third goal for club and country this season as Manchester United were held to a 2-2 draw against Stoke, though the forward knew little about his effort at the bet365 Stadium.

Rashford scored for England at Wembley on Monday to earn them a win over Slovakia and, having opened his account for United this season as a substitute against Leicester before the international break, he was one of the three players brought into Jose Mourinho's starting line-up

Here, Press Association Sport assesses Rashford's evening in Staffordshire.

POSITIONAL

Rashford was stationed on the left flank to begin with but often drifted onto the shoulder of one of Stoke's three centre-backs, Kurt Zouma. In the second half he popped up on the right but was still constantly looking to be a threat through the middle and at times him and Romelu Lukaku were almost so close together United could have been considered as having two up top.

LINK-UP PLAY

Rashford and Lukaku may be Manchester United's future, but they still have plenty of work to do if they are to forge a strong partnership. United looked like they missed Juan Mata's cleverness in the first period and Rashford was looking to be the one on the end of passes rather than being too involved in the build-up. He had an early opportunity to put Lukaku in yet despite seeing the Belgian, his pass was weak and the excellent Zouma was able to get back and nullify the danger.

CHANCES

United's number 19 had two good opportunities before he eventually did score. He found himself on the right side of the box in the 24th minute having been played in by Eric Bailly but Jack Butland kept a tamely-hit attempt out with his legs. The second was struck with far more conviction but was also repelled by Butland as Rashford moved inside from the left and looked to bend a right-footed attempt into the far corner. His goal on the stroke of half-time came when Paul Pogba nodded the ball into the back of his head and it went in. They all count.

IMPACT

A third goal in Rashford's past four games for club and country ensured United were level at half-time, not that he had much idea about the moment he made it 1-1. He was perhaps surprisingly one of those to make way when Mourinho made a double change with 18 minutes to go when the score was 2-2. The Potters defence looked terrified by his pace and they must have been relieved when the teenager was withdrawn in the latter stages.

Press Association

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