Simple tweak in Manchester United system could finally provide answer to Marcus Rashford problem

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There aren’t many players who can claim to have had a good season at Manchester United, but few players’ form has encapsulated the club’s slide more than Marcus Rashford.

When the academy product burst onto the scene, he had the world at his feet. He was seen as the future of United, the first glimpse at a return to greatness for the club.

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The past year though has seen his progress stall majorly to the point where there are some serious questions about his future to be asked.

No-one can question Rashford’s desire on or off the pitch, that is for certain, but – as Roy Keane put it – he’s looked lost at times this season, as though he’s forgotten what it was that made him one of the most exciting prospects in English football.

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The uncertainty at Old Trafford this season has certainly not helped his cause, but after a long, hard struggle this season, there might finally be a way back to form for the 24-year-old.

Ralf Rangnick has experimented with his formation since arriving at Old Trafford, all to not a great deal of success so far, especially where Rashford is concerned.

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But a return to a regular 4-3-3 system with a slight twist could present the avenue Rashford has needed all this time, with Fred and Bruno Fernandes offering their support in their advanced roles.

Rangnick explained: “I think for both players, this gives them, how shall I say, more opportunity and more freedom to play that kind of football where they’re good at – both offensively and defensively. Fred is also a player who is probably one of our best ball-winners.

Simple tweak in Manchester United system could finally provide answer to Marcus Rashford problem
© Getty Images Marcus Rashford celebrates with his team-mates after scoring against Brentford

“On the other hand, we’ve all seen in the last two games, how good and how important Bruno can be in possession of the ball and also defensively; he’s always working hard. He ran more than 12km per game, with the highest distance in the whole game.

“At the same time, on the ball, he is somebody who can score goals himself but also be, how shall I say it, altruistic enough to see a better-placed player, as he did twice at Brentford: when he played the ball square to the better-positioned team-mates, in the first instance for Mason and then, before the third goal, when he played the ball to Marcus.”

That last point will be music to the ears of Rashford.

Among the other formations tried and tested by Rangnick, it was hard to see a regular way into the side for the England international – the 4-2-2-2 certainly limited his options.

But with a more attack-minded approach, he can get the support he’s perhaps needed to get him out of his rut this season, and the opportunities to get himself back in favour should hopefully present themselves on a more regular basis.

Much has been made about trying to fit Cristiano Ronaldo into a system that works around him, but that has proved much harder than most would have expected – certainly not least Rangnick.

But that simple tweak in midfield could be enough to not only accommodate the Portuguese star, but also bring Rashford back into the fold, and in the process get him backfiring at a crucial point in his career.

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