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Manchester United legend Andy Cole has suggested that Erik ten Hag should help Marcus Rashford regain his confidence by taking him out of the spotlight if his struggles continue. Rashford is enduring a dismal season at United, failing to build on a career-best 2022/23 campaign.
Many expected Rashford to kick on after netting 30 goals throughout Ten Hag’s maiden season as the Red Devils manager.
But the 25-year-old has scored just once in 10 appearances so far this term, United’s go-ahead goal in the 3-1 defeat at Arsenal at the start of September.
Rashford rediscovered his goalscoring touch on England duty, repaying Gareth Southgate’s faith by combining with Jude Bellingham to overturn the deficit in a 3-1 win against Italy at Wembley Stadium.
Ten Hag will hope his strike, which helped England book their ticket to Euro 2024, will provide a boost after a string of confidence-shot performances in recent months.
However, Cole claims that while Rashford will be keen to play through his poor form, he could benefit by dropping to the bench if his woes refuse to go away.
“When I was a footballer, whenever I lacked belief, I wanted to stay in the starting eleven in a bid to regain my confidence,” Cole told Betfred.
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“However, now that I’m retired, I can see why it’s good for some players to be taken out of the firing line.
“If you don’t count last season for Marcus and you look at the two seasons prior to that, his form was exactly the same as it is now.
“You can only ask Marcus what the problem is, but we know that the season before last, he was dealing with some personal issues, which is something that he admitted last year.
“And after how good he was last season, we were all expecting him to kick on again in this current campaign and have the confidence in himself to replicate that form.
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“When you look at Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, you’d never have a conversation about them having an off year. Marcus needs to discover how he can maintain that high level of consistency.”
Alejandro Garnacho is breathing down Rashford’s neck, catching the eye with his cameos off the bench so far this term.
But Ten Hag has publicly backed Rashford to rediscover his best form to help United improve a poor start to his second campaign as boss.
Rashford is expected to start when the Premier League season resumes with a trip to Sheffield United on Saturday night.
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