Marcus Rashford is to Manchester United what Lionel Messi is to Barcelona. Such is the impact that the 22-year-old mercurial forward has had on the Red Devils this season. He has scored 14 goals from 22 matches in the Premier League this season and has assisted 4 more. He stands sixth in the list of top-scorer, with the likes of Jamie Vardy, Sergio Aguero, Danny Ings, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mohamed Salah above him.
While United have been far-from-impressive this season, Rashford has emerged as the sole breadwinner for Solskjaer’s team. His influence in the results was further highlighted by his 18 goal involvements in the Premier League for Manchester United this season. His involvement has contributed to 14 points overall for the team, which count for 40 per cent of United’s points tally this season. Without him, United would be at the 19th place in the table.
This shocking statistic proves just how futile the team has been without him.
Just as United was looking like their old self, with a definitive 4-0 victory over Norwich City in January, Rashford sustained a stress fracture in his back during their 1-0 over the Wolves in the FA Cup. The youngster lasted less than 15 minutes on the field before returning. This was a huge blow for the team.
Manager Solskjaer, speaking after the Wolves game, said, “That backfired (decision to play Rashford), but you've got to go for them. He's got a knock and couldn't run. Let's test him for Sunday and see how he goes. He's had a few knocks with his back lately and he got another one."
Rashford had come off after scoring twice in a 4-0 thrashing of Norwich before that match, with Solskjaer admitting the England international is carrying "quite a few knocks." The Norwegian still ran the risk of introducing his star striker 25 minutes from time and within three minutes United led.
Rashford has insisted that he would be back before the end of the season. Whether or not that is a possibility will depend on the medical staff and his ability to recover.
The Manchester club has won just one of their last five Premier League matches and is placed at 7th in the table, six points adrift of Chelsea. The club has signed Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua on a six-month loan in a hope to fill up the gap left by Rashford’s injury.