Marcus Rashford is on fire for Erik ten Hag’s side at the moment – and he is also having an influence on the Manchester United Under-21s team.
Rashford is in the hottest form of his career, having scored 10 goals in 10 games for United since returning from the World Cup. The 25-year-old striker netted once again in the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final on Wednesday and has now only failed to score in one appearance since the season resumed.
His recent hot streak has been marked by a distinctive celebration, which has caught on across the football world. Rashford has been celebrating his goals by pointing his index finger to his head.
Recent weeks have seen Arsenal ’s Bukayo Saka, Newcastle ’s Joelinton and Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich all copying his celebration. That list now includes United youngster Noam Emeran, who paid tribute to Rashford on Friday night as the under-21s made it five straight wins in the Premier League 2.
The Under-21s picked up a 2-1 victory over Blackburn at Leigh Sports Village thanks to first-half goals from Omari Forson and Emeran. It was Emeran who caught the eye after finding the back of the net, with the 20-year-old forward performing Rashford’s celebration alongside his team-mates.
HAVE YOUR SAY! What do you think the celebration signifies? Comment below.
Posting pictures of his celebration on Instagram, he said: “No caption needed, let’s keep going boyz 5/5 #allglorytogod”. He received replies from many of his team-mates, including Zidane Iqbal, Joe Hugill, Bjorn Hardley and Charlie McNeil, as well as first-team stars Anthony Elanga and Kobbie Mainoo.
Rashford has not publicly spoken about the meaning behind his celebration, but one theory says it is a reference to the better headspace he is currently enjoying. The England international has been open about his struggles with mental health issues during the 2021/22 season.
"I was struggling at times with more mental things," Rashford told Sky Sports in October. "It wasn't really my own performance but other things off the pitch. That's the biggest difference from last season. Too often last season, I wasn't in the right headspace for games. I wasn't surprised by some of the stuff that was happening."
Rashford’s current form has been key for United. Ahead of the game against Reading in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday, Ten Hag was asked for the reason behind it.
“I'm not Harry Potter,” he joked. “It's just confidence. Every player has to make and get his own confidence. He (Rashford) fought for this, he invested in this. Of course, with my coaching staff, we bring in structures, especially in the way of play, that give him routines that he needs to get into the right position.
“But, finally, it's up to him, to the player, and when the player has the confidence, then I'm convinced with the way we're working, the player can perform at his best. It's obvious that Marcus, at this moment, is in really good shape, really good form.”
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