Ralf Rangnick has challenged Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford to draw inspiration from Jadon Sancho as he battles through a period of poor form.
The 24-year-old has found the back of the net just five times in 22 appearances in all competitions this season, a far cry from the goalscoring form he showed for United over the past few years.
Rashford has struggled with injuries over the past 12 months, but has looked well off the pace in recent weeks despite being fully fit.
On Wednesday, he watched on as Anthony Elanga replaced him to score the equalising goal in United’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League, with his work rate and body language criticised after the game.
Speaking to the press before United’s game with Watford at Old Trafford, Rangnick admitted his hope that Rashford could follow in the footsteps of Sancho, who is beginning to show what he can do after a slow start to life in the North West.
“We had a very similar situation as I can remember with Jadon six or seven weeks ago,” Rangnick said. “He is the best example of what can happen. Again it’s the player himself who has to perform and get the best out of his own performance and this is the same with Marcus.”
On whether playing on the right wing had affected Rashford’s form, he continued: “For me this is not the major issue. They can play on the left or right side.
“It’s about how proactive they play and in the first half against Atletico we were far too static and predictable and we made things far too easy for them to defend. We just have to be active, proactive and always on the move, make it hard for the other team to defend ourselves and this has nothing to do with if Marcus is playing on the left or right hand side.”
The German also confirmed that United are helping Rashford with regular conversation and video analysis in a bid to help him turn things around.
“Right now he is trying to find his best possible shape and performance and we just try to give him helping hands with everything we can,” Rangnick admitted. “We show him video footage, we speak with him regularly, in training he is in top form. That is why I decided to play him [against Atletico].
“Now it’s about having that transformation from training performance to the competition in the league and this is the next step he has to take. He is definitely not injured. He definitely has no issues with his shoulder any more. I have personally spoken a lot with him.”