EPL

Rashford getting 'back to basics', says Man Utd legend Cole

By Sports Desk September 27, 2022

Marcus Rashford is reaping the benefits of getting "back to basics" this season, according to Manchester United legend Andrew Cole.

England forward Rashford endured a desperately disappointing 2021-22 campaign for the Red Devils, in which he scored only five times in 32 matches across all competitions as United finished sixth in the Premier League.

This term, Rashford already has three in six – scoring once in the 2-1 win over Liverpool and celebrating a brace in a 3-1 triumph against Arsenal.

While his improvement in form failed to yield an England recall for the Nations League matches against Italy and Germany, Cole – who won five Premier League titles and was part of the famous treble-winning team of the 1998-99 season – is happy to see Rashford back among the goals.

"It's nice to see [Rashford doing well]," Cole told United's official website. "He's got the confidence back, [and] scoring goals. I think he'll be really happy with that.

"If he can propel Manchester United forward this season, gets us into – I'm not sure what position we are going to end up in exactly, but if we can finish in the top four, it'll be good.

"It's the first time we've seen Marcus run in behind and stretch teams since he first got into the first team. 

"I think he went away from his strengths [last season], which was stretching teams.

"If you look at how he's playing now to when he first got into the team, people will turn around and say, 'that's the Marcus Rashford of old.'

"If he sticks to that, he'll score goals."

Cole is confident Rashford will also earn a call-up to England's World Cup squad in Qatar if he can continue his good form.

"You'd believe that [he can play for England in Qatar this year]," he added. "But I think the only person you can ask about the World Cup squad is [Gareth Southgate].

"Your bread and butter is always your club football, and if you do well for them, you've always got a chance."

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    Having scored 44 goals in his final season with Paris Saint-Germain before sealing his long-awaited move to Real Madrid, Mbappe will captain his country at a first major tournament, following Hugo Lloris' international retirement.

    Les Bleus are among the favourites but the same was true when they crashed out in the last 16 at Euro 2020, losing to Switzerland in a penalty shoot-out.

    Mbappe failed to score at that tournament, but his coach is certain he is in top condition ahead of Monday's game in Dusseldorf.

    "He is always at the centre of things. That won't change," Deschamps told The Athletic of Mbappe. 

    "He will not do anything that goes against the collective interest. It won't be any problem. He is in very good shape, very happy, and concentrated on working hard. 

    "The most important thing is that he has the greatest possible freedom. My objective is to put him in the best conditions, and put the team in the best conditions, so that he can be as effective as possible."

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    Opponents Austria have been touted by some as a potential surprise package after impressing in their first qualification campaign under Ralf Rangnick, finishing just one point behind Belgium.

    "If we're complete, then we're a team that is very hard to beat," the former Manchester United boss said. "We're able to compete with anyone at a high level. 

    "We saw that during friendlies against Germany and Italy [both 2-0 wins], but also during the qualifiers against Sweden [2-0 and 3-1 victories]. 

    "We're not going to the Euros just to participate. We have faith in ourselves and believe we can qualify for the next round."

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    Austria – Marcel Sabitzer

    Sabitzer was involved in six goals in seven appearances during Euro 2024 qualifying (four goals, two assists), the most of any Austria player.

    The Borussia Dortmund man also created the most big chances (four) and accumulated the highest expected assists figure (1.6 xA) of any Austrian.

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    MATCH PREDICTION – FRANCE WIN

    France enter Euro 2024 as one of the favourites, with the Opta supercomputer giving them a 19.1 per cent chance of lifting the trophy before the tournament began. They are expected to live up to that billing here.

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    Austria – 15.5% 

    France – 65.8%

    Draw – 18.7%

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    "We are going to give our best," Messi started."We continue to want to continue trying to win more things.

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