Marcus Rashford picks out a 'frightening' talent in Man United squad

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Marcus Rashford believes “frightening” talent Mason Greenwood will only benefit from the faith Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Manchester United show in young players.

After scoring 30 goals in 29 appearances for the academy sides last season and making his first-team debut, the 17-year-old looks set to become an important member of the first-team squad moving forwards.

Greenwood has impressed during pre-season and scored his first senior goal for the club as United swatted aside Leeds 4-0 at Optus Stadium, where Solskjaer said he would have no hesitation starting him in their Premier League opener.

The teenager started in attack on Wednesday with Rashford – a player who knows all about breaking through at Old Trafford and dealing with growing expectation.

“It’s definitely a nice thing,” the forward, still only 21, said after the match in Perth.

“For him, you have to understand people’s characteristics. He’s quite a laid-back person so I think for him it’s no good putting things in his head constantly and repeatedly.

“He’s a clever kid so he’ll learn it as he goes, but, yeah, his natural abilities are frightening.

“The manager is obviously doing a good job in sort of guiding him in the right direction and the more you do that, his talent will just come through.”

Greenwood was one of three academy graduates to be handed their debut by Solskjaer last season, with James Garner and Tahith Chong the others given their bow.

Fellow youngsters Angel Gomes and Axel Tuanzebe are others to have got a chance during the pre-season trip to Australia, giving them the kind of belief that can only boost young players.

“You know, mentally for the young lads, that does a whole lot for them,” Rashford said.

“They know if they play well and they perform, they’re going to get a chance.

“It’s nothing to do with how old they are. You know, they’re definitely going to get that opportunity.

“For the players as well it’s important to know that, the club’s legacy of bringing players through. It’s as good as anyone’s.”

Rashford has benefited from that philosophy and is looking to kick on by adding more goals to his game.

Asked if people should expect more, like Solskjaer has called for, next season, the forward said: “Yeah, 100 per cent.

“The patterns of play are a big one for me. You know, we can make things more simple for each other, and the more we work on it the better we’re going to get at it.

“For me it’s about patience and understanding the development process and keep improving as a team.”

Those comments offer an interesting insight into the work being done during the pre-season tour to date.

“It has been tough,” Rashford, who has scored in both friendlies, said.

“Every day we’ve been working hard.

“But I feel like we’re… it’s more for me the images that we’re getting in our heads – things like playing style, on the ball and off the ball, how to press, how to defend compact.

“Things like that are starting to become clearer as a team.

“We’ve still got a long way to go and we’re still going to continue to work hard on it, but it’s nice to see when it works on the pitch.

“So, you know, it is back to the training pitch now and more hard work.”

Rashford, who recently signed a new deal until at least 2023, is now preparing to head to Singapore, where United kick-off their International Champions Cup campaign against Inter Milan.

“It’s a big step up but I feel as though we’re ready for it now,” he added.

“We’ve had two.

“I think this game was tougher than the first one (against Perth Glory) in terms of the intensity, so the intensity has gone up.

“And hopefully it goes up again because these last three or four games, that’s where we’ll start to feel that real match sharpness.”

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaps praise on Mason Greenwood after first senior Man United goal

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Mason Greenwood pokes in to score his first senior Man United goal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer heaped praise on goalscoring teenager Mason Greenwood after Manchester United comprehensively beat Leeds despite wantaway striker Romelu Lukaku’s continued absence.

The 17-year-old sensation scored his first senior goal to set United on course to a 4-0 win in Perth, where the rivals’ first match since September 2011 had far more atmosphere and intensity that your standard pre-season friendly.

Greenwood looked sharped against Championship promotion hopefuls Leeds, producing a performance that showed just why Solskjaer recently talked up his chances of starring at the club.

“We’re delighted with the goal he’s scored,” the Norwegian said.

“It’s important for strikers to get that goal, even though we’ve said, and we know, he’s capable of scoring goals. But that first goal is maybe going to be a weight off his shoulders.

“I think his movement, his cleverness…. he’s going to be a very good player, the young boy.

“He can play all front-four positions: he can play 10, seven, 11, nine, so he’s a natural footballer, and with his left foot coming in, he can play anywhere along the frontline.

“He’s a natural and when he takes a penalty (he can take it) with his right, he takes it with his left, free-kicks right, free-kick left, so he’s almost what you call 50-50.

“Maybe 51-49 left-footed, and you see a talented boy there. He has got every opportunity to make it as a Man United player.

“Of course, it’s also going to be about luck, staying clear of injuries, being professional, and I’m sure he’s going to grab his chance because he’s got everything there for him.”

Asked if Greenwood could start next month’s Premier League opener against Chelsea despite his age, Solskjaer said: “He’s got a chance to start that one. Yeah, definitely.

“He’s capable, more than capable, and he’ll always be there, in and around the box creating chances, and I won’t say that’s not a possibility.

“No, it’s a good possibility if he keeps going as he does. Difficult to keep players out that perform well.”

Marcus Rashford, Phil Jones and Anthony Martial also scored in a 4-0 defeat of old foes Leeds in the final match in Australia before heading to Singapore to take on Inter Milan – the side aiming to sign Lukaku this summer.

The 26-year-old was conspicuous by his absence again after picking up another knock on the eve of the game.

“Of course, it’s not ideal when you miss training sessions,” Solskjaer said. “He missed yesterday’s or towards the end of a session, then he missed a game again today.

“So, he’s missed two chances to play 45 minutes, and at this stage of the season it’s important for us that we get everyone fit, so hopefully he’ll be available soon.”

Unlike Solskjaer, Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa did not attend the post-match press conference.

With the Argentinian busily analysing his side’s loss, assistant coach Diego Flores attended in his place.

“I think it was a difficult match,” he said. “There is a difference in quality in the players.

“They play better than us. We tried to do it. Maybe we had some moments that we could score but I think in the end they were superior to us.”

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Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford unplayable in Man United's 4-0 mauling of Leeds

Matt Jones 17/07/2019
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Rashford used a sublime piece of skill before finishing stylishly.

Manchester United continued their impressive start to pre-season with a ruthless display of attacking football against perennial Pennine rivals Leeds United in Perth.

After a decent but profligate display in their 2-0 opening win against Perth Glory on Saturday, United changed gear against Marcelo Bielsa’s Championship side – 17-year-old protege Mason Greenwood stylishly opening the scoring before Marcus Rashford’s sumptuous second.

Rashford and Daniel James both rattled the woodwork in a rampant first-half display, United controlled the second half too with Phil Jones powering in a header and Anthony Martial confidently dispatching a penalty after a clumsy foul on Tahith Chong.

TWO GOOD

MARCUS RASHFORD

Whether justified or not, Rashford is a man under pressure coming into 2019/20.

On the one hand he’s another gifted local lad off the United conveyor belt. On the other, he’s a figure of frustration who still needs to hone his finishing and lacks the killer instinct all good strikers possess.

But after an ice-cool finish to open the scoring against Perth Glory in the pre-season opener, on his weaker left foot, Rashford roared from the off against Leeds, thumping the post after 92 seconds following a lung-busting run from Victor Lindelof.

The 21-year-old tormented Leeds throughout the opening 45 minutes, showing searing pace and ingenuity – with his deft drop of the shoulder to flummox two defenders and composed finish to make it 2-0 world-class.

PAUL POGBA

For a man who allegedly wants out of the club, he is conducting himself like a perfect professional during the early throes of pre-season.

Of course, his displays could also be construed as come-and-get-me pleas to would-be suitors. But you can’t help but be buoyed by another masterclass, if you’re a United fan.

The Frenchman was in the running for United’s best player against Perth and he was the best player on the field against Leeds – attracting attention from a hoard of markers who he cast aside like a toddler manhandling his toys.

A stunning threaded pass behind the left-back set up Aaron Wan-Bissaka who teed up Greenwood for the opener, before he flashed a long-range free-kick just wide of Kiko Casilla’s goal.

He then flung Adam Forshaw away before forcing a save from the Spaniard, firing just wide again soon after, having picked up a loose pass and advancing.

His final highlights of the opening 45 minutes was a sprayed pass to release Rashford who stung Casilla’s palms again before another smart pass to the burgeoning striker led to James hitting the post.

TWO NOT SO GOOD

MARCOS ROJO

We almost feel bad for including him in this article for the second game in a row, but it’s not unjustified targeting of the erratic Argentine defender, who endured a difficult first half.

United’s crisp, rapid distribution and movement across the pitch was a feature throughout the opening 45 minutes, but some of the La Plata-native’s passes left a lot to be desired.

After taunting Leeds with a series of keepie-uppies on the left touchline he fired a hospital pass into Juan Mata that saw him floored by Kalvin Phillips.

Even when United were largely poor last season, Rojo stood out as one of the worst players. In a vibrant squad than has been putting in high-energy performances so far this summer, he looks horribly out of place.

ASHLEY YOUNG

A fantastic servant for United for many years, he has had the club captaincy bestowed upon him for the upcoming season – one in which he is sure to see a significant reduction in playing time from the 38 games he played last season, only seven players featured more.

Impressive at left-back against Perth, working in tandem with James, he was part of the second wave against Leeds and was less effective.

Caught up the pitch on several occasions and leaving  Jones exposed, while also getting into a late altercation for a typically robust challenge on Barry Douglas – though in reality there seemed little wrong with it.

A model pro and useful squad player, but Wan-Bissaka’s energetic, eye-catching first two displays are proof that Young will very much play second fiddle this season.

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