Monday, May 20, 2024

Marcus Rashford: Should Man Utd sell England winger this summer? -Dlight News

Manchester United could sell Marcus Rashford this summer – but do the stats suggest they should cash in?

United are reportedly prepared to sell most of their stars in a huge overhaul at Old Trafford under Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s Ineos-led regime – with only rising stars Kobbie Mainoo, Alejandro Garnacho and Rasmus Hojlund off the cards. It suggests Rashford could be sold for the right price, but reports also suggest the forward will resist any attempt by United to sell him this summer.

Rashford, who scored 30 goals last season but has netted only eight this term, has been widely identified as a prime candidate to offload – retaining a high market value after signing a new deal until 2028 last summer.

Erik ten Hag has defended Rashford and believes he “is capable of scoring, every season, 25, 35 goals”. So, should United sell their homegrown star and what do the stats say about his form?


Monday 6th May 6:30pm


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What the stats say

Rashford has received ample game-time with 2,960 minutes across all competitions this term, only Andre Onana, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo Dalot and Alejandro Garnacho have clocked more.

Despite scoring 30 goals in all competitions for United last season, the England winger has managed only eight goals in that time. Four of his United team-mates have outscored that figure – including midfielder Scott McTominay, who has registered 500 fewer minutes.

Rashford was one of United’s key players last season but sits sixth among United players in the Sky Sports Power Rankings this term, which rate player performances in the Premier League – behind Fernandes, Andre Onana, Garnacho, Dalot and McTominay.

Rashford’s current league returns of 0.28 goals and 0.08 assists per 90 minutes are his worst ratios in seven years, while his 0.84 shots on target per 90 minutes is a career-low.

You can use the dropdown menu in the interactive table below to see how his numbers have fluctuated over the years across a raft of attacking metrics.

However, Rashford’s dips, arguably, reflect a team-wide slump in form.

Ten Hag’s side have netted only 52 league goals – the joint-fewest among current top-half clubs. At the other end of the pitch, United have faced 600 shots in the Premier League – only Sheffield United and Luton have faced more.

The forward netted nearly 30 per cent of United’s league goals last season, which was a career anomaly. That share has dropped to 13.5 per cent this term – which, excluding last season, is his career average.

Therefore, arguably, Rashford’s current returns are on par with the team’s overall performances and struggles to create and convert chances.

That said, the shot maps below reveal an absence of shots from inside the six-yard box this season – an area that proved notably fruitful during his impressive campaign last term.

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The winger has achieved parity for his expected goals, having scored seven from 7.28 xG – another sign he is performing ‘as expected’. However, his xG per shot has dipped to a three-year low, which is linked to hitting fewer shots on target.

In terms of his broader contribution towards creating and finishing gilt-edged chances, Rashford ranks third for open-play xG involvement – which factors in any open-play action ending in a shot.

Excluding his injury-ravaged 2021/22 campaign, Rashford has typically finished campaigns in second spot for this metric, behind Fernandes.

Rashford’s number of touches in games has dropped off over the past two campaigns – but that did not affect his goal output last season.

So, this campaign, arguably, marks the dawn of second-placed Garnacho becoming a first-team force and wide option – rather than Rashford dropping off.

Indeed, when last season’s campaign is excluded, the England forward’s per-90 ratio in this metric is currently ticking over at his career average.

Pressing, running and positioning

In terms of pressing from the front, Rashford ranks fourth among United players for pressures applied in the final third per 90 minutes, but slips to seventh for total pressures across all areas of the pitch.

Those numbers represent a slight drop-off, with his averages in both metrics dropping incrementally over three successive campaigns.

When it comes to running, only goalkeeper Onana and Harry Maguire register fewer kilometres per 90 minutes this season.

Meanwhile, Rashford is typically utilised for his bursts of pace, but he still ranks only fifth for sprints per 90 minutes – behind Garnacho, Antony, Hojlund and Dalot and remains consistent with his career averages.

Having deployed Rashford centrally on a few occasions this term, Ten Hag has primarily deployed Rashford down the left channel – a position he has almost exclusively operated in three of his previous five campaigns.

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Indeed, data reveals United have posed their greatest attacking threat down that left channel since our records began.

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A summer overhaul at Old Trafford appears to be on the cards but Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR) will require the club to balance the books, to fund new signings.

Should United sell Rashford? Well, the stats suggest he has delivered as expected, when weighed against his side’s underwhelming form. However, his hefty transfer valuation could tempt the club to cash in.

Have your say…

Rashford transfer valuations

  • Transfermarkt: £51.3m
  • Football Observatory: £85.5m

What Ten Hag said…

Rashford was replaced during the FA Cup semi-final against Coventry and his output was criticised by onlookers with some fans booing him at Wembley.

Ten Hag said it was an “internal matter” when asked if he had such conversations this term with Rashford, whose dip has naturally led to talk about what sparked the change.

“That is an interesting question,” the Dutchman said of the England forward. “He knows, I know, it has to do with himself but also to do of course with the team.

“The first season half we had problems, and I already said our attacking game has improved a lot after the winter. But before winter, our attacking game wasn’t good enough.

“I think it’s always the two factors I just mentioned – it’s the team and it’s himself. That is of course related with each other.”

Ten Hag reiterated his belief in the player last week and hopes he can get back to the “really brilliant” level that saw him produce the best goal return of his career a year ago.

But, put to the United boss that fans can accept not scoring 30 goals every season but not a perceived lack of effort, he said: “First of all, I think Marcus Rashford is capable to score every season 25, 35 goals.

“He has the assets to do that. I am 100 per cent confident of this. The other thing, yeah, when he is not doing the right stuff out of possession, I will confront him with this. I will tell him and, yeah, I will give arguments and also we use data.”

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