Man Utd boss Erik ten Hag is close to getting his own Robin van Persie

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On Thursday night, Marcus Rashford bagged his 27th goal of the season as Manchester United beat Real Betis 1-0 in the Europa League. The England international broke the deadlock in Spain with a terrific effort from outside the box that sailed in the bottom corner. And it means he’s now just three goals from matching the 30 last plundered by Robin van Persie, back when Sir Alex Ferguson ruled the roost.

At the beginning of the season, Rashford’s career seemed to be heading for a crossroads.

The England international had toiled last term, along with the rest of his team-mates, as the club endured a horrendous campaign under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick.

There was even talk of United potentially selling Rashford, with usual suspects such as Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain both linked.

In the time since, however, Rashford has bounced back to establish himself as one of the best attackers in the whole of world football.

The 25-year-old was impressive again on Thursday night, posing Betis all kinds of problems before breaking the deadlock with a thunderbolt strike.

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That goal means he’s now scored more times in European competitions for the club than Cristiano Ronaldo, which takes some doing.

And it also means Rashford is now just three goals away from becoming the first Red Devils player to net 30 times in a single campaign since Van Persie.

The Dutchman achieved that number back in the 2012/2013 season, propelling Ferguson’s side to Premier League title glory after controversially joining from Arsenal.

In the years since, however, no United player has been able to hit or break the 30-goal barrier.

Some have come close. Namely, Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Bruno Fernandes.

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Lukaku struck 27 times upon moving to United from Everton back in the summer transfer window of 2017.

But that wasn’t enough to fire the team to trophies and he’d end up leaving two years later after being deemed surplus to requirements by Solskjaer.

Ibrahimovic struck 28 times and fired United to two trophies during the 2016/2017 season.

Yet he was still unable to break the 30-goal barrier, though likely would have done had injuries not hampered him towards the end of his time at Old Trafford.

And Fernandes also scored 28 goals across all competitions just two years ago, though a large number of those came from the penalty spot.

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Rashford is now on the verge of becoming United’s next Van Persie.

And, if he can stay fit, few would bet against him reaching the 30-goal barrier between now and May.

Speaking ahead of United’s FA Cup clash with Fulham on Sunday, meanwhile, Ten Hag praised Benni McCarthy for the work he’s done with Rashford this season.

“I think the most important is the way of playing, that gives him a base, gives him a structure, the way of play is in his favour because I knew his skills and then you also being staff around who can make it better and make it progress,” said the Dutchman.

“I thought we needed one on the staff who is specific and responsible for strikers, Benni is doing a good job.

“I think the staff has a good balance and we do it together, it’s not only about Benni McCarthy, all have specific jobs in our staff.

“There’s a good vibe, they challenge each other, it’s a total package, and it’s not about one person.”

And he added: “He progressed during the season, he was also not in the best shape when he started the season.

“The way of playing gives him a base and then he brings his skillset, he brings his attitude, his mentality, I see that is bringing him a lot of progress and it gives the team a lot joy, Marcus a lot of goals and us a lot of wins.”

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