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Is Marcus Rashford now back to his best for Manchester United?

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Last season was a difficult one for Marcus Rashford. He ended the campaign with his lowest goal return since breaking into the first team at Manchester United. If the early stages of the new year are anything to go by, he now looks over that slump.

Rashford has been a key player for United boss Erik ten Hag since he took over the managerial job. The Dutchman has often played the pacey forward as a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation, taking advantage of his speed to hurt the opposition.

The 25-year-old has netted seven times in his opening 15 games in the 2022/23 season in all competitions. He scored his 100th goal for the club in a 1-0 victory over West Ham in the Premier League at Old Trafford.

The form of Rashford is likely to have been noticed by England manager Gareth Southgate. He could see the United player as an important asset for Qatar where England are 15/2 in the odds World Cup 2022 for the trophy.

Ronaldo row has meant Rashford is now the main man

Cristiano Ronaldo’s publicised fall-out with ten Hag has meant that Rashford is the number one forward this season. That could continue as the season progresses as the English striker has taken his chance in the team.

It remains to be seen if Ronaldo will leave the club in the January transfer window. He has been linked with a move to Napoli, but a lot could depend on whether the Italian club can afford his wages, and if the Portugal international wants to join the Serie A side.

Ten Hag has been willing to put the incident where Ronaldo stormed down the tunnel before the end of the Tottenham game behind him. The United legend has featured since then and he scored against Sheriff in a 3-0 victory in the Europa League.

Rashford could also face competition from Anthony Martial as the season progresses, but, at the moment, the French player is having to settle for a place on the bench in the Dutchman’s team.

Top four hopes look far better this season

The first target for Manchester United this season in the Premier League is to finish in the top four and qualify for the Champions League. The form of Rashford and his teammates is giving United fans a lot of confidence that they can do that.

With just 58 points last season, their lowest total in a Premier League campaign, United had to settle for sixth place. It was only enough to book a spot in the Europa League. Victory in that tournament this year would also see United secure a place in the Champions League next season.

United are set to have several players from their squad at the World Cup in November and December. If the likes of Rashford and his teammates come back injury-free from that tournament, ten Hag’s side should be in good shape for a strong push in the second half of the Premier League season.