Marcus Rashford looks like a “lean, fighting machine” according to former Manchester United captain Roy Keane.
The England international maintained his excellent form by giving United the lead in their EFL Cup semi-final first leg against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Rashford has scored 18 goals for the Red Devils this season, with only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland (31) recording more for a Premier League club.
“We were pitch-side when the players came out and he looked lean. You wouldn’t want to be up against him – all the best,” Keane said to Sky Sports.
“He looks like a lean, fighting machine.”
The 25-year-old has thrived under Erik ten Hag, showing an immense improvement on his five goals in 32 games (18 starts) from last season.
“Sometimes it’s about confidence – there is where he’s peaking now. He’s played a lot of games for United and big games for England in the last few years,” Keane added.
“Sometimes the penny drops for a player in terms of decision-making and putting the ball in the back of the net. And they’ve needed him.
“The question mark I’ve had over Marcus in the last few years is, has he got that personality to step up to the plate?
“United have had some great strikers over the years, and I think they need someone like that. Marcus has to say he wants that responsibility to be the main man. The best players turn up week in and week out. It looks like he’s now enjoying that responsibility, which is great to see.”
5 – Marcus Rashford is the firstplayer to score 5+ goals in a single League Cup campaign since Carlos Tevez in 2008-09 (6). Energy.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe)
It was put to Keane that Rashford has thrived since the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo, having scored 10 goals in 10 games in all competitions since end of the 2022 World Cup, the most of any player for clubs in Europe’s big-five leagues in that time.
“When a player leaves the club the responsibility goes onto another player,” Keane replied.
“He’s 25, not a child, sometimes when the timing is right you can be ready for that. He doesn’t get the niggly injuries anymore with his groin, he seems to have cleared it up. He looks in a great place mentally, too, which is huge. He said he reckons he took too much on away from football – and being a top footballer is hard enough.
“So putting the other stuff on the back burner and focusing on being a top player for Manchester United has seen him get his priorities right.”