Marcus Rashford can be “unstoppable” when Manchester United play to his strengths, believes Erik ten Hag, and former captain Roy Keane was not surprised to see him deliver against Everton on Friday.
Rashford was the star of the show in a 3-1 win that sent United through to the fourth round of the FA Cup.
The England forward created the opener for Antony at Old Trafford, then showed sublime skill to force Conor Coady into an own goal that cancelled out the Everton defender’s prior equaliser.
Rashford got the third goal himself, dispatching a stoppage-time penalty at the end of a display manager Ten Hag described as “90 minutes of threat”.
Keane, in his role as an ITV pundit, said: “The beauty of watching Marcus tonight was this is what I expect of him now. I’m not surprised by what I’ve seen.
“He’s becoming hopefully one of the main players for United; can he get them back to winning trophies? He’s taking responsibility.
“Tonight, with two assists and a goal, I’m thinking I expect this now from Marcus every week. He’s obviously playing with a confidence.”
Confidence is undoubtedly key for a player who has scored in five straight matches and seven in a row at Old Trafford, but Ten Hag also highlighted the importance of his team-mates.
“It’s about bringing him in the right position,” he said in a news conference. “He has to do it, but make sure as a team we create spaces, so he is coming [with] his strengths.
“That is Marcus doing really well, but also the team is doing very well to get the right shape.
Really good team performance and happy to cap it off with a goal
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford)
“So, he can bring his strengths in, and I think then he is unstoppable, with his speed, with his dribbles, with his directness.”
Ten Hag, like Keane, is confident Rashford can maintain those high standards moving forward as United retain an interest on four fronts this season.
“Of course, as a striker, you measure goals [and] assists,” Ten Hag added. “Today he had two assists and one goal, so it’s great.
“He has fantastic skills, and when he has that mental stability, he can keep going.
“That demands a lot, first from him, also from us as a team, an organisation, to make sure we have the right environment, the right culture. When he keeps focused like this, I’m sure he can keep this process going.”