Bournemouth vs Manchester United: Jose Mourinho promises to support Marcus Rashford to make him a great
Jose Mourinho believes that Marcus Rashford has the potential to become a Manchester United and England great.
The United manager has promised to give the 18-year-old the support he needs to succeed.
Mourinho arrived at Old Trafford during the summer with a reputation for preferring experienced players at the expense of youth development.
He attempted to rebut this at his first United press conference last month by suggesting that he has brought through 49 young players during his 16-year managerial career.
The signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a free transfer this summer raised questions as to how much game time Rashford might get this season.
The teenager impressed as a central striker after breaking into the United side in February, scoring four goals in his first two senior matches at club level, and finishing the season with eight in total before winning a place in England’s Euro 2016 squad.
Manchester United’s best XI with Paul Pogba
David De Gea
Has been Manchester United’s best player for the last four or five seasons and, after having a move to Real Madrid collapse last summer he is now more important than ever. He saved United repeatedly under David Moyes and Louis van Gaal and will hope under Jose Mourinho that there is less to do.
A good player whose first season at Old Trafford was badly affected by injuries, Darmian should improve next year under the guidance of Mourinho. He has played for a similarly prescriptive coach for Italy in Antonio Conte and will provide exactly what Mourinho wants in the role.
One of United’s most improved players under Louis van Gaal, he established a leadership and consistency that he had lacked before. Now he is near the peak of his powers and gives Mourinho someone to build around at the back.
The first of Mourinho’s summer signings, the £30million man from Villarreal has looked good in pre-season already. Will need to adjust to the speed of the Premier League but looks well equipped to do that and form a strong pairing with Smalling.
Had his last season ruined by a broken leg against PSV Eindhoven and without him United lacked pace and width down the left. Mourinho will like his competitive attitude and Shaw will surely feature in Sam Allardyce’s England squads soon enough.
Mourinho teams always have a midfield anchor, what he calls a ‘number 6’, and there is no-one better suited to the job at United now than Schneiderlin. Did not play as much as he should have done last year but that should change now.
The big issue for Mourinho will be where to fit in the £100million man. There will be times when he plays alongside Schneiderlin in a 4-2-3-1, when United can afford to attack more, and others where he is pushed further up with two midfielders behind him. Finding the perfect platform will be Mourinho’s hardest task.
Not the highest profile summer signing at Old Trafford but a technical wizard who excelled in his three seasons at Borussia Dortmund, which is why Arsenal wanted him too. Likelier to be on the right of a 4-2-3-1, where he will provide creativity and intelligence.
Mourinho said very clearly that Rooney will not play in midfield this season for United, so he will have to partner with Zlatan Ibrahimovic up front. Rooney will likely start as a second striker or number 10, but has a job to prove that he is still sharp enough for the job.
Never looked weighed down by his fee last season and showed pace, class and natural calm in front of goal. Likely to continue on the left this season where he will provide pace on the break, as long as he does the defending Mourinho demands too.
One final challenge for the big Swede who has won the league everywhere else he has played. Still has incredible strength and skill, even if he will be one of the slower strikers at the top this year. Just needs to find a way to be a focal point for his team-mates.
He is more likely to feature in a wide role this season, with Ibrahimovic set to take on the job of the central striker in the 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations that Mourinho prefers.
However Rashford’s qualities have made an impression on the new United manager, who says that he can understand why the striker is being spoken of so highly.
“Yeah. I see all of that,” said Mourinho, whose team travel to Bournemouth for their opening Premier League game of the season on Sunday. “I like him a lot. He’s very good.
“Of course, he’s a young boy. He has a lot to learn. At his age, he can have ups and downs, and you have to be ready to support him if that’s the case. But potentially, he’s a very good player.
“He’s a very good professional. He knows how to be a professional. The way he works, the way he lives, it is very good.”
Mourinho has indicated that Rashford, a player he has described as “important” for United, will benefit from the experience of Ibrahimovic.
The manager declined to be drawn, however, on how often he felt he needed to play the teenager in order to ensure he stays in contention for Sam Allardyce’s England squad.
“The England squad is Sam’s decision, not my decision,” Mourinho said. “But he is one of my important players. He will play a lot and then it is down to Sam to make a decision.”
The United manager has also promised to help rebuild the career of Memphis Depay, who suffered a poor first season at Old Trafford.
Depay scored only two league goals last season following his £25million move from PSV Eindhoven, and was left out of the matchday squad for last Sunday’s Community Shield victory over Leicester City.
“Of course I want him to be part of my squad,” Mourinho said. “I want to try everything and the way he is working is so good that for sure, we all believe that is possible.
“I believe in him, yes. Especially as I see a good boy, a good kid, a good professional. I don’t care what people think. You can see him driving a nice car and you think this guy is not thinking about football but that is not the case.
“The kid thinks about football, the kid suffers because he is frustrated with what happened last season where he lost all his conference. But he will be back.”
New signing Paul Pogba is suspended for the Bournemouth game, as a result of bookings collected while playing for Juventus in the Coppa Italia last season.
He has not travelled to the south coast, instead remaining in the north-west to train and build up match fitness, having been given a break after helping France reach last month’s Euro 2016 final.