Rashford will stick his hand up for penalties
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer trusts Marcus Rashford will not be adversely affected by his penalty miss during the Euro 2020 final shoot-out with Italy at Wembley.
The Manchester United no.10 hit a post soon after Harry Maguire had slammed his spot-kick home, before Gianluigi Donnarumma saved from prospective Red Jadon Sancho and Arsenal's Bukayo Saka to earn the Azzurri the trophy.
Yet Ole is expecting the homegrown talent to stick his hand up for future penalties at United and compete with regular taker Bruno Fernandes, after proving his accuracy from 12 yards on a number of occasions.
Not only did he fire home in the Europa League final shoot-out against Villarreal, during our final game of 2020/21, but nobody will ever forget the nerves of steel required to knock Paris Saint-Germain out of the 2019 Champions League.
“You know the thing is when you step up to take a penalty, I think you’ve already won,” Ole told club media's Gemma Thompson at Carrington. “You’ve taken on the responsibility and I’m sure many of the players are hoping I don’t want to take a penalty.
“So I think it’s a great character trait to step up and say I will deal with it, [and] the consequences. You might be the hero or the one who misses. That’s football. You learn from it and definitely come back stronger. I’ve not seen many people, at this club anyway, who lay down and say I’ll not take a penalty anymore. I know Marcus is going to put his hand up and say he wants to take one for us.”
Of course, the boss was delighted to see Luke Shaw score the opening goal in the final at Wembley and feels the hard work that has gone into the attacking side of his game is really paying off.
Luke had an outstanding tournament, also racking up three assists, and will return to Carrington having shown he is a world-class left-back.
“I’m so happy for Luke. I was watching it and ‘what’s just happened?'” Ole laughed about the second-minute strike. “He started the attack and we’ve encouraged him to get into the last third.
“We know how technically gifted he is and skilful he is and he hit the ball very, very sweetly. He keeps his eye on the ball, straight laces and it’s margins again – off the post and in, not off the post and out. That’s football for you. Luke deserves all the luck he can get. He’s had a tremendous couple of years with us.”
Ole was philosophical about the disappointment felt across the country in the wake of being beaten in such circumstances, particularly after United's season had ended in similar agony when losing the Europa League final shoot-out to Villarreal in Gdansk.
“Obviously, we know the feeling the whole of England had after the game,” he said. “One kick decides the whole mood. An even game, maybe Italy bossed possession a little bit, of course, but when it comes to penalty shoot-outs, anything can happen, as we know from our own last game.
“It’s hard on the boys but that’s football sometimes. You just have to deal with it and move on. I know the whole atmosphere in the country has been so great and, of course, it’s an anti-climax. I know that.”