Marcus: I was prepared not to make it at United
Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has spoken about his mentality and revealed the advice he would give to his younger self.
The Reds forward has been in fine form this campaign, scoring 18 goals and providing 12 assists in 45 appearances for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Since making the breakthrough in the first team in 2016, Rashford has hit 90 goals in 273 games, surpassed Eric Cantona in our all-time top goalscorer charts, won several trophies and captained his boyhood club.
Off the pitch, the England international has received an MBE and numerous individual awards, plus accolades for his outstanding work to help prevent food poverty in the United Kingdom.
Speaking to award-winning podcaster, best-selling author and United fan, Jay Shetty, for #ILoveUnited, the 23-year-old gives us an insight into his own mind.
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Among the many topics touched upon in the interview, Rashford reveals the most important lesson he learned developing at the club’s Academy.
"Just to try and improve every day," our striker said.
"As players, we got a duty and a responsibility to give our best for the team. To do that, we have to keep pushing ourselves every day to be better than we were the day before. That’s what motivates me and keeps me going in the right direction."
The standards are high and the competition for places is tough throughout the club, from Academy to first team. The Wythenshawe man was asked if he ever had doubts about making it as a first-team player at his favourite club.
"You always believe you’re going to make it as a footballer because you have to, if that’s what you’re trying to do," Rashford said.
"But making it at United is different to making it as a footballer. As a youngster, you have to prepare yourself for not making it at United, just in order for not getting too down if it doesn’t happen. It enables you to keep going. To play for United is a massive achievement for me and I feel really proud to be here."
The Academy product emphasises in the interview with Shetty that he believes the key to footballers’ success lays in the mind.
"You have to be in a state where you’re relaxed and mentally prepared to go out and perform on the biggest stages," he explained.
"Once you do the work and find out what works for you, it’s about doing that every time there is a game, not letting other things distract you, things that are happening off the pitch, whether it’s family or friends. You know, once you step onto the pitch, focus has to be on that game. You can’t think of the next game or the last game, you have to be focused on the task ahead."
"If your mind’s ready, your physical condition doesn’t really come into play," the forward said.
"You have to be mentally prepared, probably more than physically. For me, that’s what I emphasise the most and it's probably something that I won’t change. It’s difficult to be at your peak physically for a whole season. Sometimes you play 50-55 games a year and international games on top of that, so, for me, mentality is lot more important than your physical condition."
Our no. 10 also shared some insight to what he would tell his 10-year-old self if given the chance today.
"To stay concentrated, whether good things happen or bad tings happen," Rashford said.
"I think it’s something that I probably learned mostly when I came into the first team in terms of results not going your way and, next week, it can go your way. In order for things to change and for consistency to happen, you have to find a balance.
"Of course, it’s normal to be upset and annoyed if you lose a game or draw a game. As players, we put that pressure on ourselves to go out to try to win every game. So yeah, that’s probably the advice I’d give to myself, just stay stable throughout ups and downs."