Ralf Rangnick believes Marcus Rashford can draw inspiration from Jadon Sancho as the forward tries to lift himself out of a run of poor form.
Rashford started Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg draw at Atlético Madrid but an anonymous display caused him to be replaced on 75 minutes by Anthony Elanga, who scored United’s equaliser. The 24-year-old has only five goals in 22 appearances but Rangnick cited Sancho, who has scored twice and made two assists in his past six games, as an example of another player who struggled previously before enjoying an upturn.
“We had a very similar situation as I can remember with Jadon six or seven weeks ago,” the interim manager said. “He is the best example of what can happen. It’s the player himself who has to perform and get the best out of his own performance and this is the same with Marcus.”
Rangnick said Rashford is fully fit. “He is definitely not injured,” the German said. “I have personally spoken a lot with him. It’s with him like with all players: when it counts and they are on the pitch – he started against Atlético Madrid – just have to perform. I am pretty sure he is not happy with his performance right now but it doesn’t help if we discuss that every week and talk about our thoughts about what it might be …
“Right now he is trying to find his best possible shape and performance, and we just try to give him helping hands with everything we can. We show him video footage, and we speak with him regularly. In training he is in top form – that is why I decided to play him. Now it’s about having that transformation from training to [competitive games] and this is the next step he has to take.”
Rangnick indicated he is content for Rashford and Sancho, who are predominantly wide players, to operate on either wing. “Marcus has played on the right [as well as left] and I remember in the game against Arsenal the last game when Michael Carrick [as caretaker] was in charge he did well in that game so for me it’s not a question of who plays left or right.”