United interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to help improve Marcus Rashford's finishing, by passing on what he learnt from his own playing days.
The Norwegian earned a reputation as a deadly finisher during his 11-year spell at Manchester United, scoring the winning goal in the 1999 Champions League final. In all Solskjaer scored 91 times in 235 appearances for the club, many of which came from the bench.
With Marcus Rashford struggling to finish chances in front of goal in the past couple of seasons, his new manager thinks he can push him to the next level. Speaking to ahead of today's clash with Bournemouth (h/t The National), he pointed out how impressed he has been with the academy product:
Marcus has got his own motivation to become the best player he can be.
He practises a lot. He has got far more than I did in terms of his physical attributes, his pace, his strength and striking the ball from outside the box.
Maybe I can give him a little bit of the nous that I had inside the box. I’m talking about the little moves you make to get free, that little bit of calmness in front of goal.
Marcus is 21. He’s still learning. The most important thing I can see is to just settle him down in front of goal. I've seen him rush a few finishes. He thinks ‘I've got to get a shot off early’ when sometimes you just pass it past the keeper.
I always say that the goal never moves.
Rashford certainly has all the attributes to be a top striker, although his finishing has let him down at times. If he can hone his craft inside the penalty area, he will prove very difficult for opposition defenders to stop.
Solkhaer knows what it takes to make an impact at the top level. He arrived in Manchester already boasting an incredible goalscoring record, averaging a goal a game in his 150 appearances in his native Norway. While many would put down such records to natural talent, he says this was not the case:
I wasn't born with it. I studied finishing, I studied goals, I studied movement.
I worked on my mentality because that’s key. You will always miss chances but you can’t do anything about them once they’ve gone. It’s always about the next chance. You have got to be one step ahead as a striker, to create that space you need.
Apart from the ball, when you’re a striker it is space that’s your best friend. You need space...
Throughout my life, ever since I played for Clausenengen back home, instead of listening to the teacher at school I was writing down all the chances I missed in a book thinking ‘I should have done this.’ Scoring goals was all I thought about.
If the current crop of United forwards can pick up half the guile and instincts that Solskjaer had during his playing days, the club will have some top players on its hands.