Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has confirmed that teenage striker Marcus Rashford will make his first start of the new season as and when the Europa League group stage begins this week and United make the short trip to Rotterdam to face Feyenoord.
“For me the next big game is against Feyenoord and the next game he is going to play. That is the only thing I can say,” Mourinho is quoted as saying by the Guardian as he discussed Rashford’s role in the team in the wake of the weekend’s Manchester derby defeat.
Rashford is yet to start a game for his club this season despite finishing the 2015/16 campaign as the club’s leading striker.
He has come off the bench and made an impact in each of the last two games, though, and scored a hat-trick for England at Under-21 level as well, giving Mourinho the confidence to now turn to him in Europe.
“I trust him completely. I know his future will be absolutely brilliant,” the United boss said.
“He is mainly a number 9 – if you want to play him in different positions, we need to work him, we need to improve him – but his big personality is there.
Normally, people look to the football talent but personality at his level is very important and he was showing that last season – he was showing that immediately.”
Rashford gave United something different in a wide area in the derby against City on Saturday, replacing Jesse Lingard at half-time.
Mourinho sensed a weakness in City’s line-up and was aware that Lingard and Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the other side weren’t delivering.
” I felt City had the fragility on the sides and the kid could give us in the second half on the sides what we didn’t get with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Jesse Lingard in the first half,” he explained.
“Rashford did that for us. The kid gave us what we had needed in the first half.”