Man United FC

Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag is close to getting his own Robin van Persie

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has witnessed Marcus Rashford excel this season, with the England international now just three goals away from 30 for the season – the last player to do so for the club was Robin van Persie.

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Marcus Rashford scored his 27th goal of the season as Manchester United defeated Real Betis 1-0 in the Europa League on Thursday night. With a fantastic attempt from outside the box that went into the bottom corner, the England international broke the deadlock in Spain. And it means he’s only three goals away from tying Robin van Persie’s previous high of 30, set during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.

Rashford’s career appeared to be at a crossroads at the start of the season.

Last season, the England international and the rest of his teammates labored as the club underwent a disastrous campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

There was even discussion of Manchester United selling Rashford, with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain also linked.

Rashford, on the other hand, has recovered to establish himself as one of the top attacking players in the world.

On Thursday night, the 25-year-old was once again brilliant, presenting numerous issues for Betis before breaking the deadlock with a thunderbolt shot.

With that goal, he has now scored more goals in European competitions for the club than Cristiano Ronaldo, which is quite an accomplishment.

Rashford is now just three goals away from becoming the first Red Devils player since Robin van Persie to score 30 goals in a single season.

After controversially arriving from Arsenal, the Dutchman achieved that figure in the 2012/2013 season, pushing Ferguson’s side to Premier League title victory.

However, no United player has been able to reach or break the 30-goal plateau in the years thereafter.

Some have gotten dangerously near. Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Bruno Fernandes are the players in question.

Lukaku scored 27 goals after joining United from Everton during the 2017 summer transfer window.

But it wasn’t enough to propel the squad to glory, and he’d leave two years later after Solskjaer deemed him surplus to requirements.

During the 2016/2017 season, Ibrahimovic scored 28 goals and led United to two titles.

Despite this, he was unable to cross the 30-goal barrier, which he would have done had injuries not impeded him at the end of his stay at Old Trafford.

Fernandes also scored 28 goals in all competitions just two years ago, though several of those came from penalties.

Rashford is on the verge of becoming Manchester United’s Van Persie.

Yet, if he can maintain his fitness, few would bet against him breaking the 30-goal mark between now and May.

Meanwhile, ahead of United’s FA Cup match against Fulham on Sunday, Ten Hag commended Benni McCarthy for his work with Rashford this season.

“”I think the most important thing is the method of playing because it provides him a base, gives him a framework, and the way of play is in his favor since I understood his skills, and then you being staff around who can make it better and improve,” the Dutchman remarked.

“I thought we needed someone on staff who is specific and in charge of strikers, and Benni is doing a wonderful job.

“I think the workforce has a fantastic balance and we do it collectively, it’s not simply about Benni McCarthy, all have distinct jobs in our staff.

“There’s a wonderful energy, they challenge each other, it’s a whole package, and it’s not about one individual.”

He went on to say: “He improved during the season, despite the fact that he was not in the best shape before the season began.

“The manner of playing gives him a foundation, and then he brings his skillset, his attitude, his mentality, and I see it bringing him a lot of improvement and giving the team a lot of joy, Marcus a lot of goals, and us a lot of wins.”

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