Rashford: My Old Trafford connection is so emotional
Marcus Rashford says that it took him about a year to come to terms with playing at Old Trafford – due to the huge range of emotions he felt as a lifelong fan of the club.
The 25-year-old sat down with former Red Danny Webber for an in-depth interview before departing with England to the World Cup in Qatar.
And in the chat, Rashford opened up on the “rollercoaster” ride that is representing his boyhood club.
Despite scoring four goals in his first two games at the Theatre of Dreams – against Midtjylland and Arsenal – he admits that it took him a long time to learn how to deal with the passion and the occasional anger that goes with being a fan.
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“Obviously, being a fan, you feel everything that the lads are feeling watching the game [at home],” he explains.
“Sometimes you just get carried away – sometimes it's happiness, sometimes it's anger. But you just have to try and find a fine line, because it definitely affects your performance and your decision-making.
“It's weird. It's obviously impossible, but I have to try and block the fans out for me to keep my emotions in check. Because if I don't, automatically it's just natural for me to feel what they feel. And you can't be on that rollercoaster.”
One game at Anfield caused an early re-think, when the young Rashford was almost sent off in the first few minutes for an over-enthusiastic challenge on Alberto Moreno.
“I almost got sent off against Liverpool in my first game at Anfield, straight from kick-off!” remembers Rashford.
“They played it back to the centre-half, then to the lad [at full-back]. I've gone to block it and I've just took him out, like two seconds after he's kicked the ball!
“I just remember all the fans shouting: 'Off, off!' I didn't think it was a red. I didn't think it was a yellow, but the ref was like: 'Yellow.' I think I'd played like 10-20 games for the club, so I thought I could deal with it, but that was a moment where I realised it [the emotion] was something you have to work on.”
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As for Old Trafford, Rashford says it took him around 12 months to find the right way to channel his huge connection with the fans and the stadium.
“It took me probably a year for me to be able to fully be able to do it,” he admits. “It's harder than what people might think it is, because there's 75,000 people there in close proximity.
“I have a strong connection with this stadium and there's a lot of emotions going on at once. But after a year or so – it helped me playing so many games – being in that environment over and over again helps you improve quicker.
“But it was a shock to me: how connected you stay to that feeling of just being a fan.”