27-year-old must ‘step up’ with Rashford out as ex-players identify Man Utd’s ‘biggest problem’

Jason Soutar
Marcus Rashford celebrates a goal with Anthony Martial

Manchester United striker Anthony Martial has been called on to fill the void left by the injured Marcus Rashford.

Rashford was absent for the Red Devils’ match against Sevilla on Thursday and will miss the next few games.

Thankfully for Erik ten Hag, Martial has returned to full fitness just in time to lead the line.

The Frenchman has missed the vast majority of this season through injury and he will need to stay healthy over the next few weeks with United in the middle of a fierce battle to finish in the top four of the Premier League.

They also have an FA Cup semi-final against Brighton coming up, as well as the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Sevilla.

Speaking ahead of the first leg at Old Trafford, the club’s former midfielders Hargreaves and Scholes discussed the absence of Rashford.

Hargreaves insists Rashford has “carried the team” this season and has said Martial must “step up” with the England international out.

“The biggest problem is goalscoring, and if you lose Marcus Rashford for a week or two or three that puts a lot of pressure on the rest of the players, because Marcus has been the guy that’s carried the team,” he told BT Sport.

“But, somebody needs to step up – [Anthony] Martial, he’s back fit, he looks like he could be the guy.

“Whether it’s Antony, [Jadon] Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, or [Christian] Eriksen to come back in, but they need somebody to step up.

“I just feel like when Marcus isn’t there, Varane or Lisandro Martinez, or Casemiro, replacements aren’t as strong as those options so it’s a huge month with all the fixtures.

“But somebody is going to have to step up because if Marcus is going to be missing for a time I think we need another goalscorer.”

Scholes made the point that United are a goalscoring striker away from competing for a league title and clearly doesn’t believe Rashford’s goals alone will be enough.

“I think where Manchester United are missing out on for going for a league title is goals. So Marcus has stepped up to the plate this year, but I don’t think the players around him have contributed enough to scoring goals,” Scholes said.

“Antony, I know he’s scored [seven] goals in the season in all competitions, but it’s only three league goals.

“Sancho might be only three or four league goals, Martial being out has been a big miss and also Bruno hasn’t scored as many as you would have liked, though Casemiro has chipped in.

“Now I think it’s a great opportunity for somebody to come in, somebody like Anthony Martial, to come in and say ‘look, Marcus has been fantastic, but now it’s my turn. I can score goals.’

“The biggest problem with Anthony Martial is that he’s fragile, if they keep him fit they have got a proper centre forward.”

United are expected to sign a new striker this summer with Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Napoli’s Victor Osimhen and Frankfurt’s Randal Kolo Muani all reportedly on Ten Hag’s shortlist.

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