Ten Hag: Rashford is one of world's best
Erik ten Hag has confirmed there is no way Marcus Rashford will leave Manchester United next year, as he rates the forward as one of the world's best in his position.
The England international's present contract is due to expire next summer but there is an option to extend for a further year, which the club plan to take up. The Reds will attempt to convince the homegrown star to agree fresh terms as he looks to return from the World Cup disappointment recharged for the challenges ahead at Old Trafford.
The 25-year-old won his 50th cap in Qatar and was in the early running for the Golden Boot after scoring three times in the group stage.
However, his playing time was limited in the knockout phase, as he came on against Senegal with the game effectively won at 3-0, and was an even later substitute in the 2-1 loss to France in the quarter-finals. Marcus still managed to go agonisingly close to an equaliser with the last kick of the latter game, from a free-kick.
The last few weeks have been a rollercoaster of emotions, each and every one of our team gave everything we had to be ready for what was thrown at us, we got close, but not close enough.— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) December 11, 2022
I’ll make a promise that we will come again!
Thank you for the unconditional support. pic.twitter.com/G964SZYiCL
Rashford expressed his sadness but also determination to come back stronger, and his focus now will be on helping United achieve our objectives in 2023.
For Ten Hag, there is no question of the Academy product being allowed to leave next year, as he feels the attacker can be compared to France's Kylian Mbappe, one of the undisputed stars of the World Cup so far.
"He [Marcus] has to make a decision," the boss told newspaper reporters. "The only thing we can do is show him this is the best club to be in, which has to do with the culture of the club and also in the way we are working, in the way we play and the way we train and if we are offering the right environment to progress.
"It's a financial issue as well. Then it is up to him to make the decision. But for one-and-a-half years, he will be here."
"From the first moment, I recognised huge potential," added the manager. "And now to get out the potential, I believe when Marcus's positioning is on the back of the defending line, there is almost no better player in the world.
"There is Mbappe in this moment, a type like him, but when he [Marcus] is getting in that position, he's great and you see he's really improved also out of possession."
Ten Hag wants to see Rashford smiling at Carrington, and enjoying his football, and will hope this is the case when domestic duties return, despite the last-eight exit at the big tournament."One of the first things I said to him was come to training and smile," revealed the boss. "We bring him exercises that hopefully bring players joy. They have to be effective but they have to be joyful as well and that gives you energy when you are happy. When you see the benefit of it, you can be happy.
"Actually, Marcus was one, from the start, who came with a smile to Carrington and left with a smile day by day. And, from the first moment, it really was a joy to work with him. I recognise his talent and his finishing talent [is] great.
"For instance, the headed goal against West Ham United, I don't think he makes goals like that so often. But he's investing in it, I triggered him a little bit, he worked with our specific coaches on it, on finishing with headers and then you see he got the benefit from it.
"So when I say he is the one who plays on the shoulder from the defending line, make sure you're coming in such situations and it's really difficult to stop him."