With ONE goal in 13 games, what has happened to Marcus Rashford?

What has happened to Marcus Rashford? Criticised for a lack of effort and just ONE goal from 13 games this season… 30 goals last season saw him handed a £300,000-a-week deal but now Erik ten Hag and Man United fans are questioning his future

  • Marcus Rashford is struggling badly for Manchester United so far this season
  • Much was expected given he hit 30 goals last season in his best ever campaign
  • Follow Mail Sport’s new Man United WhatsApp channel for all the breaking news 

With Manchester United chasing a route back into the game down 2-0 to Man City, Marcus Rashford found himself at the back post inside City’s box with 64 minutes gone. 

Unmarked, he was the intended target of a chipped cross from Bruno Fernandes, only to find a backtracking Kyle Walker beat him to the header – twice. 

Groans aimed at Rashford reveberated around Old Trafford. This wasn’t a small minority either. Many had seen enough over what was perceived as a marked lack of effort Erik ten Hag was the target of calls to take Rashford off. 

While the England international’s withdrawal did not come for another 20 minutes, the groans that met his duel – if we can call it that – summed up a season of frustration and disappointment for Rashford. 

Here is a player that hit 30 goals last season and inked a new five-year contract worth a basic £300,000-a-week only a matter of months ago. Paris Saint-Germain were sniffing around and United moved quickly to keep him. 

Marcus Rashford has looked out of sorts all season long for Manchester United

Erik ten Hag looks back at his frustrated star as he is substituted in the 3-0 defeat to Man City

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Now supporters are scratching their heads asking what has gone wrong? Who is the real Rashford? The one on show right now, who looks mentally and physically worn out. Or the one that ripped through opponents with swagger and skill at the back end of last season?

Rashford’s form has been a key talking point all season long. Quizzed on the forward at the start of October, Ten Hag, in stark contrast to supporters, cut a relaxed figure when it came to his out-of-form striker.

‘Especially [we have to] give him the trust,’ Ten Hag said.

‘I play him every game,’ Ten Hag continued. ‘Most of the games also he finishes. I have a strong belief he will return to scoring a lot of goals.’

Not one league goal has followed since these remarks.  

As a collective United have been well below par this season; pinpointing Rashford alone would be grossly unfair. 


Marcus Rashford – 847 minutes – 1 PL goal – 1 PL assist

Rasmus Hojlund –  493 minutes – 0 PL goals – 0 PL assists

Antony – 407 minutes – 0 PL goals – 0 PL assists

Alejandro Garnacho –  244 minutes – 0 PL goals – 0 PL assists

Anthony Martial – 221 minutes – 0 PL goals – 0 PL assists

Jadon Sancho – 76 minutes – 0 PL goals – 0 PL assists

But it would also be wrong to suggest he has been starved of service. That is simply not the case.

After Sunday’s 3-0 loss to City – which was much more one-sided than that scoreline suggests – Rashford has had the second most shots in the Premier League this season with 34, second only to City’s Erling Haaland, who scored twice at Old Trafford. A tale of two forwards right now.

Of those 34 shots only seven have been on target – 20.6 per cent shot on target ratio.

Note too that out of all the Premier League players with at least 20 shots this season, only Luton Town’s Carlton Morris (17.4 per cent) and Liverpool’s Luis Diaz (20 per cent) have proven more wayward than Rashford in front of goal.

There is criticism of Rashford for myriad reasons. One, he has shown he is capable of playing significantly better. Two, his mammoth new deal will rightly bring a greater level of scrutiny – and so it has.  

Should he remain at United through until this deal expires in 2028, Rashford will earn £78million. Fans want results, and more importantly trophies, for that sort of money. Right now he looks a shell of the player many thought they would see this season.

One of United’s problems is that the team around him has proven to be so disjointed. Particularly in attack, United have fires springing up all over the place.

Erik ten Hag is scratching his head working with an attack that has played a combined 2,288 minutes this Premier League season with just one goal and one asisst to show for it.

That goal and assist? They would be courtesy of Rashford.  

‘When the team is not playing well, which it isn’t, you are not going to have the same numbers or the same performances that he had last season when things were going really well,’ Jamie Carragher told Sky Sports at the weekend.

‘But he has to do more. 

‘I have always had the same opinion about Rashford, he’s not world-class, but he’s probably the level below that. But if United want to get back to winning the league, or winning the European Cup, which is something they should always be judged against, Marcus Rashford can’t be your best attacker.’

Rashford is the only Manchester United striker to score a Premier League goal this season

His partnership with Rasmus Hojlund (right) is still a work in progress and he is finding it hard to carry the load like he did so successfully last season when he scored 30 goals

Carragher was not done there, adding: ‘United need someone better than Rashford to go and win that. It’s not a criticism of him, but of the players he is playing with. 

‘If Rashford is United’s best attacker, as he has been under the last two or three managers, United won’t be winning leagues or European Cups.’

As an FA Cup winner, Europa League winner and two-time League Cup winner, Rashford would no doubt reject the idea that United cannot win with him as their best attacker.

But an inability to carry the load this season, having done so so impressively last season, is telling. 


372 appearances

124 goals

58 assists

2x EFL Cup

1x FA Cup

1x Europa League

His only Premier League goal came at Arsenal in September; a brilliant finish that was a flash of the talent he showed with such consistency a season ago. 

Only now the flashes are so intermittent. 

While Carragher gave a rather damning verdict on United’s trophy prospects with Rashford as their star man, former United captain Roy Keane has, for a change, shown a degree of sympathy.

‘I do think it’s unfair to compare it to last year because he was so brilliant,’ Keane said. 

‘I always worry for a player when they sign a mega contract in the summer – I always worry for players, not just Marcus, that some players ease off a bit.

‘But, if anybody can produce for United, then Marcus is more than capable, he’s done it before.’

Premier League football is a case of what have you done for me lately? And lately Rashford hasn’t backed up the promise he made when penning that mega deal in July. 

‘As a United fan all my life, I know the responsibility that comes with representing this badge and feel the highs and lows as much as anyone,’ he said.

‘I can assure you that I will give everything to help the team reach the level we are capable of, and I can feel the same determination around the dressing room.’

There are two schools of thought on how to solve the problem with an underperforming Rashford, who has looked disinterested in spells of games this season.

One, stick with him and let him play his way into form as he forms a better partnership with Rasmus Hojlund. Two, take him out of the firing line in the hope of reigniting his fight before putting him back in. 

His only league goal in 2023-24 came away to Arsenal in September. Since then he has faltered

United are so reliant on Rashford to ignite or they risk their season falling further into the abyss

Right now for Ten Hag it seems to be a case of stick rather than twist. No one in United’s attack has played more minutes than Rashford – and the Dutchman is giving every indictation that that won’t change any time soon.

‘Strikers when they don’t score, they need a moment and it will come,’ Ten Hag said. 

‘He’s so experienced and when he’s doing the right things and the team is, the momentum will come and he’ll be on fire.

‘We have seen in the last weeks, he’s getting into good positions, now he’s a little bit struggling but this will pass because everyone knows his qualities.

‘Everyone at Manchester United backs him, the whole team is supportive of him and believes in him.’

Now, with United’s season at risk of spiralling even further out of control, the onus is on Rashford to shake himself from his slumber. If not, things could well go from bad to worse.


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