Erik ten Hag keen to keep revitalised Marcus Rashford at Manchester United

England forward could be rested for Europa League clash with Real Sociedad, with Cristiano Ronaldo set to start

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Erik ten Hag says Manchester United are determined to keep Marcus Rashford after the revitalised England forward's fine start to the season.

Rashford has started all six of United's games so far but could be rested for the Europa League clash with Real Sociedad on Thursday – meaning a probable return to the starting line-up for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Rashford scored twice against Arsenal on Sunday as he linked up with United's new signing Antony to inspire an impressive 3-1 win against the Premier League leaders.

The 24-year-old also netted in United's victory against arch rivals Liverpool as he finally returned to form.

The Englishman has struggled badly throughout the past two campaigns and was linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain earlier this year before reminding United of his value with his recent flourish.

He is out of contract at the end of this season and United manager Ten Hag has no intention of letting him leave.

United retain the option of another year's extension and, when Ten Hag was asked whether the club were talking to Rashford about that, he said: “Definitely. I think United control the situation.

“I see a happy Marcus Rashford and I see some phases in his game which we could improve and we worked really hard the last two and a half months with him on different aspects.

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“He really likes it and wants to transfer it to the pitch and that is what you see in this moment. It started with happiness. He comes in every day, he enjoys it, he is really smiling, with a really positive vibe.

“If you put all those things together, like the way of playing, you want to transfer different aspects of your game and are happy, you will have more contribution to the team, the performance and the result.”

If Rashford is rested for the Europa League clash at Old Trafford, Ronaldo could get only his second start this term, with Anthony Martial still sidelined with an Achilles injury.

The Portuguese forward's only start so far was in the humiliating 4-0 defeat at Brentford in the Premier League in August.

“He [Ronaldo] started against Brentford. Then not since but he is ready to start,” Ten Hag said.

“We not only have a team, we have a squad, that is clear, it's the mentality what Manchester United need.

“Maybe I cannot keep them all happy every game, but everyone gets their game time if they perform well, [it is] quite clear.”

Ten Hag's rotation policy will probably see the likes of midfielders Casemiro, a £60 million signing from Real Madrid, Fred, club captain Harry Maguire plus fellow defenders Victor Lindelof and Aaron Wan-Bissaka feature but left-back Luke Shaw and midfielder Donny van de Beek were absent from training at Carrington on Wednesday.

Updated: September 07, 2022, 4:59 PM
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