Marcus Rashford says there is no time to dwell on either England’s untimely World Cup exit or the debate about whether he should have had more involvement in the quarter-final defeat by France.
Rashford was back in action for Manchester United 11 days after he ended his time in Qatar by curling an injured-time free-kick inches over the French bar.
There was no sense of a hangover from the striker, who provided the high point of a 2-0 EFL Cup win over Championship outfit Burnley by scoring a superb solo goal, driving his shot into the bottom corner after beating two defenders at the end of a run that began 10 yards inside his own half.
“There is no time to feel sorry for yourself,” Rashford told Sky Sports.
It’s more emotional-wise because it was such a disappointing feeling to be knocked out [of the World Cup]. You have to pick yourself up and we did that today.”
The manner of Rashford’s goal only fuels the argument that his introduction against France, with just five minutes left, did not give him enough time to have any significant impact.
Rashford left Qatar as England’s joint highest scorer and his latest effort took the 25-year-old onto nine for the season at United.
Manager Erik ten Hag opted against getting involved in the debate around England. But he does feel Rashford can have a significant impact at club level this season.
I can’t give a comment on that [England]he said.
“He is in great form for us and I hope he can keep his focus and performance. His performances are improving a lot from game to game.
“He’s a continued threat but also he’s scored a lot of goals and does a lot of defending work. I’m really happy with his performances.”
Ten Hag confirmed Rashford’s England team-mate Harry Maguire missed the game through illness.
The United boss does not know if Maguire will be fit enough for the December 27 encounter with Nottingham Forest and says the situation will be monitored over the coming hours and days.
Future at Old Trafford for Wan-Bissaka?
There was also positivity around Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
The £50m former Crystal Palace man appeared to be surplus to requirements at United, with injury limiting him to a single four-minute substitute appearance this season prior to the Burnley game.
However, after claiming his first assist since May 2021 when the 25-year-old superbly cut Bruno Fernandes’ cross-field pass back into the path of Christian Eriksen, who put United in front, Wan-Bissaka produced a mature performance and Ten Hag says the full-back has a role to play this season.
“It is clear he has a future,” said Ten Hag. “He had some good years but this season he had a lot of illnesses and injuries.
“Since the restart he is fit and he could train with the team and you can see him progressing. His fitness levels are getting better, his performance levels are getting better and the assist, especially the way he gave the assist, at the right moment and With timing, it means I’m happy with his performance.”