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Marcus Rashford’s point to prove as Man United resume Premier League story

The Manchester United striker shot to prominence at the start of the World Cup, scoring three goals in the group stages.

Marcus Rashford capped off a 50-yard solo run with a superb strike to see off the Clarets© Action Images via Reuters

Kevin PalmerSunday World

Marcus Rashford’s stunning goal in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup win against Burnley reignited a debate that has been raging for two weeks – why did England not use him more in the World Cup knock-out stages?

The Manchester United striker shot to prominence at the start of the World Cup, scoring three goals in the group stages and adding a fresh dimension to the England team.

Yet boss Gareth Southgate played a more cautious game in the knock-out phase of the competition, leaving England’s top scorer in the tournament on the bench until the 85th minute of their quarter-final defeat against France.

England legend Gary Lineker has suggested that the decision was a mistake – with Rashford’s brilliant goal against Burnley backing up that belief.

Now United boss Ten Hag has suggested Rashford is in the form of his life ahead of the Premier League game against Nottingham Forest at Old Trafford on Tuesday evening.

“I think he’s in great form, and of course I hope he can keep in this focus and performance,” said Ten Hag.

“I think he is on a very good level, his performances are improving a lot from game to game.

“He’s a continual threat today but also in many other games this season; he’s scored already a lot of goals and also does a lot of defending work, don’t forget that.

“I’m really happy with his performances, and I hope and I expect him to keep going in this attitude and this performance level.”

United triggered a clause in Rashford’s current contract to extend his stay at Old Trafford by a year in recent days, with negotiations over a new deal underway.

“The only thing we can do is show him this is the best club to be in,” added Ten Hag.

“That has to do with the culture of the club and also in the way we are working, in the way we play and the way we train, and if we are offering the right environment to progress.

“It’s a financial issue as well.

“Then it is up to him to make the decision. But for one-and-a-half years, he will be here.”

Ten Hag is hoping United’s training break in Spain was the perfect preparation for his side to launch a push for trophies in the second half of this disjointed season.

A Carabao Cup quarter-final is now on the horizon, with an FA Cup third-round tie against Everton at Old Trafford also on the cards at the start of next month.

“You live by the highest standards when you are a club like Manchester United,” said Ten Hag.

“That means challenging for trophies every year, and this has to be the target now.

“We are in one quarter-final and now we have to be ready for the Nottingham Forest game.”

Nottingham Forest have announced their shirts will display refugee charity logo ‘UK for UNHCR’ for the rest of the season.

The club announced a partnership with the UN refugee agency yesterday.

The club has also made a donation to the charity.

Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis said: “It will be an honour to display their name on our shirt in support of such a worthy cause.”

  • Manchester United v Nottingham Forest, Old Trafford, Dec 27th, 8pm (Sky)

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