Connect in the back of the net

The young Mancunian then proceeds to expertly float the ball to the back post – if there is one thing that Fellaini can do, it is head, and he made no mistake.

Rashford’s free-kick in Spain was enough to separate United from Celta Vigo in the first leg, and his extra-time winner – a product of enviable composure – against Anderlecht sent the Reds through to the semi-final.

In the Europa League, as well as the Premier League, Rashford is filling the giant sized boots left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

On Thursday night against Celta Vigo, Rashford was unplayable.

 

Redefined

The raw, uncultured edge to his game in his maiden season is beginning to be redefined and nurtured. And it is Ibrahimovic that United fans should thank.

The academy product was afforded limited game-time at the start of the season, playing understudy to United’s big Swede, but all was not lost. Rashford observed, learned and improved.

So much has improved in Rashford’s game – even during his barren goal scoring spell there were promising signs.

Rashford has been guilty of poor decision making, rash play and lacking the final touch, but under the guidance of Ibrahimovic, such deficiencies are starting to be eradicated.

The young man is now strong in possession, holding off imposing centre-backs as if he has been doing it all his life.

For a slight lad, this requires great technique and positioning – lesson one he has learned from Ibrahimovic.

Rashford is also more skilful in possession; he has added to his game an ounce of flair, and when one mixes this with his supreme pace, it makes for a frightening combination.

Rashford has the ability to go on a mazy, beguiling and solo run. He can make something out of nothing: a feat exclusive to the very best.

 

Most striking improvement

Yet, the most striking improvement to Rashford’s game is his calmness.

He does not simply pick the ball up and run with his head down and hope for the best. He can assess a situation and pick the right move: to run, to pass or to shoot.

This might sound simple, but under the harsh gaze of thousands of spectators, this can be an enemy. Rashford has a new-found vision to his game that complements his potent striking abilities.

By no means is Rashford the finished product, but he’s no longer the rough diamond that emerged from United’s academy. He is now being refined and developed, evolving into one of the hottest properties in English football.

After all, there is a reason why United fans see him as the future.

 

Written by Michael Jones

Follow Michael on Twitter @jonesmichael_97

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