Man Utd boss Ten Hag gives his view of Rashford’s trip to New York and McTominay striker role

Joe Williams
Man Utd striker Marcus Rashford celebrates scoring a goal

Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag insists it’s a “positive” that Marcus Rashford took a break in New York over the international break.

The Red Devils forward – who is having an oustanding season for Man Utd – has been on the receiving end of a lot of criticism from some newspapers after having a holiday in New York while England matches were being played.

Rashford was clearly made unavailable for the Three Lions because of injury, not because he wanted to take a break, while England boss Gareth Southgate wasn’t at all fazed by the Man Utd forward’s posts on Instagram.

And Ten Hag was pleased to see his star forward able to get “a breather to collect energy” ahead of a busy run-in as Man Utd fight for a top-four spot in the Premier League and potential silverware in the FA Cup and Europa League.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Ten Hag said: “I think it’s positive that he was in a break. I think Rashford, I think with Bruno, he was playing the most games of the whole squad and I think with Manchester United playing the most games across Europe and especially the internationals, our internationals are not mostly on the bench, mostly they are playing.

“Our players are playing the most games in this crazy season. They need a breather to collect energy. For me, it’s positive he took that time to turn off from football. I have seen him back this week and he has shown a lot of energy, a lot of motivation, it was a good spirit and a lot of focus.

“Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Bruno, Casemiro, they are starters for their nations. I want to emphasise they have the most games across the season so far. We played an extra round in the Europa League.”

Rashford has contributed 27 goals and six assists this season with the England international getting back to his best form under Ten Hag.

On how he has managed to help Rashford get back to his best, Ten Hag added: “It’s not about just a talk, I’m not Harry Potter.

“It’s like a process, so there are many tools you’re putting in in your management to let people get to best form, best shape so it’s about line-up, way of playing, it’s about coaching, talks, informal, it’s about coaches working with him and especially it’s a lot about himself because he’s the one and he has the skills so when he is in the best att, best mentality then.”

When asked for an update on Rashford’s contract talks, Ten Hag replied: “We never do. It’s an internal process. We focus on winning games, of course also planning for the future so in the back we’re working on that. It’s about agents, it’s about football director John Murtaugh, Rashy and I are focusing on performing.”

Scott McTominay scored four goals in two matches for Scotland in wins against Cyprus and Spain with some calls on social media for him to start up front for Man Utd.

On whether McTominay could play as a striker, Ten Hag continued: “Scott can play in many roles, it’s clear he has scoring capabilities for Scotland but also this season for us he’s a really good finisher but I see him as a midfielder so I think I’m happy with Wout is doing. Because when Wout is in the team the team is performing better.”

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