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Gary Neville on why Marcus Rashford is back on track after landmark Man United goal

United manager Erik ten Hag described match-winner Rashford as “a great player” who will get even better after his side’s 1-0 win against West Ham.

Marcus Rashford© AP

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Gary Neville believes Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has put football back at the centre of his world, as he reflected on his return to form.

United manager Erik ten Hag described match-winner Rashford as “a great player” who will get even better after his side’s 1-0 win against West Ham was secured with the striker’s 100th goal for the club.

"It is stark to hear Rashford say I wasn't in the right headspace going into a match," said United legend Neville. "There's no doubt there was too much being put into his head off the pitch. Too much. Sometimes you have to simplify your life.

"He's doing so much good off the pitch, it's incredible what he's achieving but there comes a point where your bread and butter is your football and I suspect people off the pitch who are close to him, who are probably just pulling him away a little bit from his core, which is his football. That's where he's talking about his head space. For me he's got that back."

"There were people that thought he'd have to move away from Manchester United. I thought that would be a shame and hoped that the moment would come back where you'd see him confident again.

"There were moments when he's running with real power and strength and flow… but there were times last year where he'd get in that position and he was hesitant and he'd pass it back and take the easy option.

"There were also moments last year, when Ronaldo was available, he'd pass it to him like he was subservient to him. I feel now he's willing to take responsibility and then play him in when he needs to."

The rejuvenated striker is the first United player since Wayne Rooney in 2009 to reach the goalscoring landmark and when asked if he could become an elite player, Ten Hag said: “I think he is already.

“Before you’re 25, to score 100 goals, I think you’re already there, but he won’t be satisfied with that.

“In the end it’s about how many trophies you win with your club and I think he can develop his game even more.”

Rashford rose above West Ham’s Thilo Kehrer to meet Christian Eriksen’s cross without breaking stride to give United a half-time lead, which they protected after coming under sustained pressure in the second period.

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford scores his side's winner against West Ham at Old Trafford Photo: David Davies/PA Wire© PA

Ten Hag was clearly delighted Rashford had heeded his advice when the Dutchman first arrived at Old Trafford.

“When you see he made two headers (in the game) for instance and we have worked a lot on that,” Ten Hag added.

“I notified him from the start, his heading had to improve and he worked on that and you can see what’s happening.

“Also mentally, he’s much more consistent and reliable and resilient. I’m really happy with the progress.

“For me he’s already massive, a great player, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement and where it ends I don’t know, but it will be a fantastic career I’m sure.”

Ten Hag also singled out David De Gea and Diogo Dalot after his side climbed back up to fifth place in the Premier League table, one point off the top four.

Goalkeeper De Gea made a string of fine saves, notably from Michail Antonio’s 25-yard screamer and Kurt Zouma’s header.

“It’s quite clear, and I’ve emphasised it several times, I’m really happy with David. He’s a great goalkeeper, he’s only 31 and he’s fit.

“He can progress even more. He was already impressively good for Man United and he will be in the future as well.”

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