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Man United: Marcus Rashford has been immense in Qatar

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag might just be enjoying the 2022 World Cup in Qatar more than most, with a whole host of Red Devils playing pivotal roles for their national sides.

Casemiro has been a defensive rock for Brazil during their first two matches of the tournament, also clinching a late winner in the recent victory over Switzerland, whilst Bruno Fernandes has rekindled his sublime clinical prowess and scored two goals and assists apiece for Portugal. 

But it is Rashford who has stolen the limelight at present; in fine fettle throughout the tournament, the 25-year-old scored against Iran from the bench in the goal-laden opener and provided a promising cameo in the lacklustre draw against the USA, striking the target in his 12 minutes on the pitch. 

However, it was against local rivals Wales in the conclusive group fixture where the wily winger really shone through; as per Sofascore, Rashford recorded a match rating of 8.4, scoring twice as England secured top spot with a convincing 3-0 win and condemned their opposition to an early exit.

His first goal, a magnificent free-kick from the left, was met with thunderous applause at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium, looping over the defence and evading the efforts of Danny Ward in the Welsh goal. 

His second, England’s third, came 18 minutes later after a deft piece of skill opened up a small pocket of space for Rashford to drill in a low, driven effort, which Ward should have parried.  

Sticking to the Welsh defence like glue, the Man United phenom recorded a match-best of four shots on target, completed three out of five attempted dribbles and won four of his seven ground duels in an all-encompassing performance for the Three Lions. 

And the 49-cap international now stands as the joint top goalscorer at the World Cup, having netted three times. 

The forward is continuing his stellar form at club level this term after suffering a severe lapse in goal return and performance for United last season, finding the net just five times across 32 appearances. 

With his spot in Gareth Southgate’s England squad actually jeopardised by his dwindling presence on the pitch, the £200k-per-week maestro needed to return with emphasis to dispel the polarising views on his national inclusion. 

Having scored eight goals and provided three assists in 19 club appearances this season, Rashford, labelled “outstanding” by Jacob Tanswell, is indeed returning to form of the richest vein, a spark bright and blinding in its intensity, his offensive arsenal will prove the difference, as it has already, and he will continue to have a decisive say in England’s success in Qatar. 

And when the tournament draws to a close, Rashford will be certain that the faith boss Ten Hag holds in him will have only strengthened, with his contribution to the squad set to be key as they look to win silverware and return to the Champions League.