Wednesday 29 January 2020

Rash': I don't feel pressure

United develop players to be mentally strong says striker

Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford reacts after a missed chance against Brighton last Sunday
Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford reacts after a missed chance against Brighton last Sunday

Striker Marcus Rashford believes living up to the high expectations playing for Manchester United helps him to deal with pressure.

The 22-year-old, currently preparing for England's clash tonight against Montenegro, is one of 54 players to have scored more than a half-century of goals for the club.

He has been in the spotlight from the moment he made his debut as a last-minute change to the starting line-up in a February 2016 Europa League game against FC Midtjylland.

However, during his meteoric rise he has had to endure his fair share of criticism and scrutiny but he believes the club's values have helped him to cope.

"For me, at Manchester United, they develop you to a stage where you don't necessarily feel the pressure," said Rashford.

"It's more just something that you have to live up to. But because you've been there for so long, they try to instil it into you to try to live up to the expectations of Manchester United - which, of course, are very high.

"Naturally, if you do live up to the expectations, you don't have to deal with any pressure. So that's the way I think about it.

"For me, I've been at United for many years and the amount of friends I've seen come and go is huge, and it just makes you feel privileged that you managed to get the opportunity.

"But once you get the opportunity, the hardest thing is staying there. So that's the challenge.

"I just try to maintain a level head. You know, whether you win or you lose, if you try to keep the same sort of feeling and a level head, it tends to help you best."

Rashford, a product of United's academy which he joined at the age of seven, admits there is a huge adjustment which takes place when you make a first-team breakthrough.

"The first couple of games that you play, it can be tough, when you go back home or when you go to the shop," he added.

"A simple thing like going to the shop to buy something: it used to take you two or five minutes, but now is like a 30-minute trip to go and get something.

"Little things like that. You just get used to it, you become accustomed to it."

Rashford's Old Trafford team-mate Victor Lindelof admits he misses former United manager Jose Mourinho not being in football.

The centre-back was brought to the club from Benfica for £30million by Mourinho in 2017 and, although he subsequently occasionally found himself on the wrong end of some scathing criticism from the Portuguese, he still has huge admiration for him.

"He is, after all, one of the world's best coaches and he is supposed to have a job at one of the biggest clubs. I miss him in football," he said.

"He's a great coach and a great person, whom I owe a great deal. It was he who gave me the chance here, who brought me into everything.

"I have all the respect in the world for him and appreciate everything he has said and done for me, from scolding to a hug.

"Even if I did not agree, at the time... he has very great charisma, you had great respect for him.

"He's won everything. When he says something, you listen."

It was announced yesterday that Scott McTominay had been retrospectively credited with United's second goal in Sunday's 3-1 win over Brighton.

McTominay's close-range prod was helped over the line by Davy Propper, who was initially given an own goal, but that decision has been overturned following a United appeal.

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