Football

Manchester United stronger after hiatus: Marcus Rashford

Forward is raring to go as he returns from injury, along with midfielder Pogba

Marcus Rashford believes Manchester United look a more formidable side ahead of the English Premier League's resumption next Thursday (Singapore time) than they were when the season was suspended in March.

United were on an 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions, before the Covid-19 pandemic brought the EPL to a halt.

Rashford missed all those games after suffering a double back stress fracture in mid-January, but the 22-year-old forward is ready to help United pick up from where they left off.

The England international is also raring to smash the 20-goal barrier, following his tally of 19 in all competitions this season.

"Coming out of this lockdown, we are in a much stronger position than we were going into it," Rashford told United fan site Stretty News.

"We just need to take each game as it comes and not get too ahead of ourselves. We are working hard in training, gelling as a team with players coming back from injury, etc.

"I felt I was having my best season to date before the injury hit so, now that I'm back fully fit, I'm determined to push on."

Also making a return from injury is star midfielder Paul Pogba, who has managed only eight appearances this season due to ankle issues.

United lacked creativity in Pogba's absence, but the January signing of Bruno Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon seemed to have fixed that problem.

The attacking midfielder hit the ground running, scoring three and providing four assists in nine games of United's unbeaten run, which also saw the Portugal international pick up the EPL Player of the Month award for February.

The Red Devils were fifth in the table, three points behind fourth-placed Chelsea, when the EPL was suspended.

With Pogba back to full fitness and Bruno in fine form, former United winger Ryan Giggs is eager to see if the two midfielders can complement each other.

"You can't answer that question until they play together, whether or not they will gel," Giggs told Sky Sports.

"Good players should be able to play with good players...They both have lots of quality, it's about if they can complement each other now."

However, it may not be an immediate conundrum for United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of his side's visit to Tottenham Hotspur in 12 days.

The Norwegian has hinted that both Rashford and Pogba may still not be able to play a full 90 minutes in the games.

"We hope everybody's going to be ready for the first game," Solskjaer told the club's website.

"We've had time out, so I don't think we can expect those lads who've missed lots of the football to last the full game.

"But now... we can use five subs and have nine on the bench... That's helpful... and we have to look after the players... we have to rotate quite often."


MAN UNITED'S FIXTURES

June 20, 3.15am:

  • v Tottenham Hotspur (away)

June 25, 1am:

  • v Sheffield United (home)

June 28, TBC:

  • v Norwich City (away, FA Cup)

July 1, 3.15am:

  • v Brighton & Hove Albion (away)

* All EPL matches unless stipulated
** All in Singapore time
*** Remaining fixtures to be confirmed

Football