Sunday 21 April 2019

Rashford urged to break Rooney goal-scoring record

Marcus Rashford celebrating in Paris. Photo: PA
Marcus Rashford celebrating in Paris. Photo: PA

James Ducker

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has challenged Marcus Rashford to break Manchester United's all-time goalscoring record - and believes he could form a fearsome strikeforce with Romelu Lukaku.

United face Arsenal at the Emirates tomorrow, when Solskjaer's side will aim to strengthen their grip on fourth spot, three years on from Rashford scoring twice on his debut against the Gunners.

Solskjaer hopes the 21-year-old academy graduate can emulate Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes by remaining a one-club man over the next decade and threatening Wayne Rooney's record of 253 goals.

Rashford's stoppage-time penalty against Paris St-Germain on Wednesday was his 43rd goal for United and secured a dramatic 3-1 win that fired the club into the Champions League quarter-finals after Lukaku had kick-started a historic comeback with two goals in the first 30 minutes.

"That would be fantastic," Solskjaer said when asked if he could see Rashford staying another 10 years and challenging Rooney's record.

"We know all the legends at this club who have stayed so long. They've been one-club players and we hope Rashy is going to be one of them. If he keeps producing, he will stay in the team.

Quality

"He's 21, you're excused if sometimes you really hit the highs and sometimes you're a little bit off the pace. You don't expect the consistency yet in all the play, but he's always got the quality.

"His finishing, his striking of the ball, his attitude - that is always going to be with him."

Rashford's shot count this season has doubled since Solskjaer took charge and the caretaker manager - who welcomes back Anthony Martial, Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera from injury - believes the local lad can become a prolific goalscorer.

"He should always get those simple tap-ins, finishes from close range, like Rom scored in the last few games," Solskjaer said. "Rashy's goals are sometimes 'worldies', but you see the improvement, maturity and change in Cristiano Ronaldo's goals from when he was young to now - he scores more inside the box - and that's what Rashy has to do."

United have had hugely successful double acts up front - from Mark Hughes and Eric Cantona to Dwight Yorke and Andrew Cole - and Solskjaer believes the sight of Lukaku and Rashford excelling as a two-man attack against PSG offered a glimpse of the longer-term threat they could pose as a strike pairing.

Rashford, who has 11 goals this season and Lukaku, who has 15, talked after the PSG win about their understanding.

"They might form a very nice partnership together because I wouldn't like to be a defender with those two running at me," Solskjaer said.

"We need Rom facing the goal and not with his back to goal."

Solskjaer has admitted that he is already helping the club to plan for next season by identifying targets for the summer transfer window amid the firm expectation he will be appointed manager on a permanent basis.

But Solskjaer is adamant the scrutiny about his position is not a distraction.

"You have to put your life into it, but it helps that I know the club," he said. "I'm not here to get excited. I'm here to do my job." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Arsenal v Manchester Utd, Sky Sports, tomorrow 4.30

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