Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford may not have enjoyed his most productive season with Manchester United in the 2023/24. However, many still expected the attacker to be a part of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the European Championships. Rashford was omitted even from the initial thirty-three-man group. This surprising decision could serve as a catalyst for Rashford in the forthcoming season.

Rashford, who turned 26 this year, made his debut for the England national team back in 2016. Since then he has racked up sixty caps, scoring seventeen goals along the way. His versatility and pace have made him a valuable asset for Southgate, who has deployed him in multiple positions, attempting to use his speed and direct playing style. But the fact is, Euro 2024 betting markets have England pegged as favourites, and that’s the case with or without Rashford involved for the Three Lions. He wouldn’t have been a starter at the Euros, but being completely left out is undoubtedly a significant disappointment for the player.

Shock Exclusion Or Expected?

To understand the gravity of Rashford’s exclusion, one must roll back the clock to the 2022/23 season, Rashford was being talked about as one of the best attacking players in world football. His impressive tally of thirty goals and ten assists in fifty-six appearances had clubs like Paris Saint-Germain eyeing him for a potential big-money transfer from Manchester United, a club close to his heart. A year later, Rashford’s form dipped noticeably and he has finished with just eight goals and five assists from forty-three outings. This decline in performance has influenced Southgate’s decision to leave him out of the squad

While all hope is lost on the England front for Euro 2024, it’s not all doom and gloom for Rashford, and the disappointing campaign with Manchester United and Southgate not including him for the trip to Germany could spur him on to find his form and show everyone they were wrong once again. He’s been criticised and faced adversity before, and has consistently shown an ability to bounce back stronger, as seen in 2022/23. And that’s the best way Rashford can answer his critics.

Rashford’s most prolific season at Manchester United came under current manager Erik ten Hag. The Dutch manager has shown faith in Rashford’s abilities and is eager to help him regain his peak form. Rashford, as everyone knows, prefers to play wide left rather than as a central striker, and Ten Hag has accommodated this since arriving as manager at Old Trafford. This tactical flexibility and support from his manager have been crucial for Rashford’s development and performance. Therefore, it’s very likely that Rashford will be hoping the hierarchy at the club decide to stick with Ten Hag, whose future remains up in the air, even though he’s steered the team to two trophies in as many years, winning the FA Cup just weeks ago.

Important Summer Ahead

The upcoming summer poses a significant decision for Rashford. He must decide whether to use the setbacks and criticism as motivation to reclaim his place among the world’s top footballers, as he was in 2022/23 or to let the challenges diminish his performance. The stage is undoubtedly set for the former, and at just twenty-six, he’s progressing towards what should be the peak of his career and the peak of his powers.

Rashford’s potential to bounce back is not mere speculation. His career has been a series of peaks and valleys, where he has consistently demonstrated an ability to overcome adversity. His journey from the youth ranks at Manchester United to becoming a key player for both his club and country is a story of resilience. The 2022/23 season, where he was among the top scorers in Europe, is proof of his ability to perform at the highest level when in form.

Moreover, Rashford’s off-field contributions, such as his campaign against child food poverty, have shown his character and determination. These qualities, combined with his talent for football, suggest that he has both the personal and professional attributes needed to turn his career around once again. His community work has earned him widespread respect and admiration, reinforcing his status as a role model both on and off the pitch.