Jude Bellingham was once again at his scintillating best for England in their 3-1 win over Italy on Tuesday evening and he may have provided Erik ten Hag with the perfect blueprint to try and get Marcus Rashford back firing in front of goal. Rashford may have taken the plaudits for putting England in front at Wembley, but it was Bellingham’s lung-busting run from the edge of his own box and selfless sprint to drag a defender away that created the opportunity for the United forward.
It was the kind of midfield display United have been lacking and potentially why there’s been a lack of goals throughout the team at Old Trafford this season. Rashford has often appeared isolated on the left wing with Ten Hag unable to get the best out of his attacker.
Bruno Fernandes usually provides Rashford with the link between midfield and attack, but there’s been a disjointed flow to United’s football so far this season. Injuries at left-back to Luke Shaw and Tyrell Malacia also haven’t helped with Rashford having to get up to speed in a new partnership with Sergio Reguilon.
But it’s the link between midfield and attack that Ten Hag will want to try and fix in the immediate future. Rashford looked close to his devastating best on Tuesday against Italy and that was in part due to Bellingham’s persistence to get his attacker involved.
The 25-year-old clearly loves playing on the same pitch as a midfielder like Bellingham too. Rashford said: “He is an unbelievable player, not just his quality but he is full of energy. He is a joy to play with. He didn’t score today but you can see his huge influence, going forwards especially.”
Replicating that kind of form at club level is the next step for Rashford, who has scored just once in the Premier League this season. But Ten Hag will need his midfielders to step up and help Rashford along the way like they have done in the past.
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Rashford is at his best when there’s someone capable of feeding him the ball in dangerous areas. Fernandes has been that player for the past few years now, but his form has also dipped at Old Trafford this campaign.
The Portuguese star has provided just one assist in the Premier League this campaign having been previously United’s most creative threat. But he too showcased what he’s truly capable of during the international break as the midfielder provided two assists in Portugal’s 3-2 win over Slovakia before finding the net himself against Bosnia.
Now Ten Hag’s task is to get both Fernandes and Rashford on the same page at United and Bellingham may have just provided the blueprint to make that happen.
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