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Rashford

I was listening to the (consistently excellent) Stadio podcast at the weekend, where they discussed FIFA's proposed biennial World Cup and more generally the growing phenomenon of Too Much Football. Whether less is more from a spectator's point of view is a debate for another day, but they made a convincing argument that the demands on elite footballers these days is having serious effect on the length of playing careers. Let's consider the factors. An expanded footballing calendar, with more international matches and European club fixtures than a generation ago.
Ever increasing athleticism, higher physical intensity, more kms covered and more sprints per 90 minutes.

Plenty of players have very little cartilage left in their knees when they retire. And there are lots of examples of truly elite players relying on explosive acceleration whose performance levels dropped off a cliff relatively early in their careers: think of Shevchenko and Torres, and Chelsea's karmic refund for the first two, Hazard.

That discussion has been at the back of my mind this week as Rashford's undeniably atrocious form attracts more attention. First of all, I'm not arguing that there's a single factor at play here. I don't doubt that he's really struggling for confidence right now. I imagine that the collective uncertainty in the squad is an issue. I'm not suggesting he has lost his pace. And I accept that he hasn't done enough in the game yet for his innate qualities to be spoken of in the same bracket as Shevchenko or Hazard. But at the same time I don't think some of the explanations floating around (he's disinterested! he's not trying! he was never good enough for us anyway!) make sense.

Rashford reportedly played through pain and injury-management during the last two seasons, and in the process has clocked up 101 matches (not including England duties). He has performed stutteringly but contributed 41 crucial goals from wide positions each season. It's my suspicion that we've got to this place because United has failed in its duty of care. Rashford has been over-played and under-coached. He's not a "generational talent" striker but despite playing for this chaotic club has often enough been the only player to give us attacking penetration. At the start of last season PSG reputedly had him at the top of their wish-list if Mbappé left (one imagines they are looking elsewhere now). He's not Michael Laudrup but the past (e.g. tail end of 2019-20 season) has shown he can pass the ball with precision and imagination. Whatever we think about his fundamental ceiling, few would deny that if he were performing at the higher levels we've seen from him, right now in this United team he'd be the first name on the sheet.

And he's not 'disinterested'. I've always thought Rashford's mentality is his biggest asset, and reporting from the reliable United journalists informs us he is desperately working to turn around his form: doing extra training sessions, seeking out advice from senior figures in the sport, quizzing Ronaldo about details of his diet and his muscle density at the same age. Maybe part of the problem is that he's trying too hard.

Anyway, basically, I hope he attains that clarity that he needs to perform at his top level, and I hope the club manages his body better than it did under Solskjaer, and that he benefits from more consistent coaching in the future.

posted 4 days, 18 hours ago

comment by #LiquidGenius (U20571)
posted 6 hours, 8 minutes ago
Footballers, and athletes across the board, are actually having longer careers now than ever before due to modern sports science.

CR7 & Messi are still scoring prolifically in their mid-30s, whereas the great forwards of the previous era like Henry, R9 & Ronaldinho were all finished at the top level around 30.

Lewandowski has had his best years as a striker after turning 30. That would have been unthinkable 20 years ago. Ibrahimovic is 40 (forty) and still scoring in Serie A.

That's just in soccer.

Other athletes like LeBron, Brady, Djokovic, Federer, Pacquaio, Nadal, Goldberg, The Undertaker, and even Ronnie O'Sullivan, have all performed at an elite level at ages far older than previously thought possible in their respective sports.

Players talking about 'too much football' are just trying to avoid more work. A World Cup every two years would be great for football.
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WWE is not a sport

posted 4 days, 16 hours ago

Ronnie O'Sullivan

posted 4 days, 15 hours ago

I thought Simon Stone’s article was decent, RR.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/59973836

He’s back from surgery in October when things are starting to fall apart and the team is performing woefully, then he’s asked to play five different roles in four different setups over the next couple of months without any pre-season training and with a new strike partner. He gets one game in his best position.

I think it’s more than likely that we haven’t seen close to the best of Marcus Rashford yet. That he’s out of form is undeniable; but that shouldn’t really be a great surprise given the season that United have had, when he joined the fray, and when and how he’s been used. If his confidence looks shot, well, that shouldn’t be a great surprise given the above.

All of those things are temporary though. His most prolific seasons have been his last two. Prior to this one, the trajectory had hardly been poor.

posted 4 days, 15 hours ago

comment by And... Rosso... Though its... Yeah and... That... (U17054)
posted 21 minutes ago
I thought Simon Stone’s article was decent, RR.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/59973836

He’s back from surgery in October when things are starting to fall apart and the team is performing woefully, then he’s asked to play five different roles in four different setups over the next couple of months without any pre-season training and with a new strike partner. He gets one game in his best position.

I think it’s more than likely that we haven’t seen close to the best of Marcus Rashford yet. That he’s out of form is undeniable; but that shouldn’t really be a great surprise given the season that United have had, when he joined the fray, and when and how he’s been used. If his confidence looks shot, well, that shouldn’t be a great surprise given the above.

All of those things are temporary though. His most prolific seasons have been his last two. Prior to this one, the trajectory had hardly been poor.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Its not like United fans shouldn't be aware the of the issues he has had. Its all readily available info. I just find it odd how we have so many supposed fans that can't wait to criticise the lad. Especially when he has still been returning good numbers despite his injuries and has made himself available wherever possible.

posted 4 days, 13 hours ago

comment by Elvis: King of Cult (U7425)
posted 1 hour, 41 minutes ago
comment by And... Rosso... Though its... Yeah and... That... (U17054)
posted 21 minutes ago
I thought Simon Stone’s article was decent, RR.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/59973836

He’s back from surgery in October when things are starting to fall apart and the team is performing woefully, then he’s asked to play five different roles in four different setups over the next couple of months without any pre-season training and with a new strike partner. He gets one game in his best position.

I think it’s more than likely that we haven’t seen close to the best of Marcus Rashford yet. That he’s out of form is undeniable; but that shouldn’t really be a great surprise given the season that United have had, when he joined the fray, and when and how he’s been used. If his confidence looks shot, well, that shouldn’t be a great surprise given the above.

All of those things are temporary though. His most prolific seasons have been his last two. Prior to this one, the trajectory had hardly been poor.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Its not like United fans shouldn't be aware the of the issues he has had. Its all readily available info. I just find it odd how we have so many supposed fans that can't wait to criticise the lad. Especially when he has still been returning good numbers despite his injuries and has made himself available wherever possible.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I agree with Rosso's analysis.

And also agree very much with Elvis: why the hell would United fans not give a player - especially a player who has emerged from the youth team and given us so much joy across a generally pretty depressing period for the club - the benefit of at least an open mind?

posted 4 days, 13 hours ago

comment by Red Russian (U4715)
posted 2 minutes ago
comment by Elvis: King of Cult (U7425)
posted 1 hour, 41 minutes ago
comment by And... Rosso... Though its... Yeah and... That... (U17054)
posted 21 minutes ago
I thought Simon Stone’s article was decent, RR.

https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/59973836

He’s back from surgery in October when things are starting to fall apart and the team is performing woefully, then he’s asked to play five different roles in four different setups over the next couple of months without any pre-season training and with a new strike partner. He gets one game in his best position.

I think it’s more than likely that we haven’t seen close to the best of Marcus Rashford yet. That he’s out of form is undeniable; but that shouldn’t really be a great surprise given the season that United have had, when he joined the fray, and when and how he’s been used. If his confidence looks shot, well, that shouldn’t be a great surprise given the above.

All of those things are temporary though. His most prolific seasons have been his last two. Prior to this one, the trajectory had hardly been poor.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Its not like United fans shouldn't be aware the of the issues he has had. Its all readily available info. I just find it odd how we have so many supposed fans that can't wait to criticise the lad. Especially when he has still been returning good numbers despite his injuries and has made himself available wherever possible.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I agree with Rosso's analysis.

And also agree very much with Elvis: why the hell would United fans not give a player - especially a player who has emerged from the youth team and given us so much joy across a generally pretty depressing period for the club - the benefit of at least an open mind?
----------------------------------------------------------------------

I just don't get it. Its like they are wanting him to fail. The lad has still been one of our most effective players over the last 2 seasons, despite a drop in form. He's returned better figures than many PL players, who are fans would be creaming their pants over if we signed them. Its weird.

comment by Robbb (U22716)

posted 4 days, 12 hours ago

I think deeeeeep down the idea that a young black man getting above his station in life triggers a few peoples inbuilt prejudices.

posted 4 days, 12 hours ago

comment by Robbb (U22716)
posted 6 minutes ago
I think deeeeeep down the idea that a young black man getting above his station in life triggers a few peoples inbuilt prejudices.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe in some instances, but I attribute more of it to the wider capacity of our fans to feel no affinity with any player unless he is living up to their standards. For a lot of fans there is no sense of being part of a 'community' - football has become more of a commodity and it's primarily about gratification of the desire for entertainment and glory. I think we all share those desires, and it's the constant hope of those highs that sustains us. But (as a child of the 80s when being a United fan meant you had to sustain yourself on something other than regular gratification) I've always felt a strong affinity for our players, including the ones who weren't superstars. I loved Darren Fletcher. O'Shea's wasn't a major talent but he's part of our story, and he once nutmegged Figo and kept a clean sheet at Spurs. Silvestre was part of our story, and I remember him and his oddly shaped head with affection. I think today's Rashford-haters would be 'too ambitious for the club' to have anything good to say about these players, and that's nothing to do with race.

posted 4 days, 11 hours ago

comment by Red Russian (U4715)
posted 1 hour, 25 minutes ago
comment by Robbb (U22716)
posted 6 minutes ago
I think deeeeeep down the idea that a young black man getting above his station in life triggers a few peoples inbuilt prejudices.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe in some instances, but I attribute more of it to the wider capacity of our fans to feel no affinity with any player unless he is living up to their standards. For a lot of fans there is no sense of being part of a 'community' - football has become more of a commodity and it's primarily about gratification of the desire for entertainment and glory. I think we all share those desires, and it's the constant hope of those highs that sustains us. But (as a child of the 80s when being a United fan meant you had to sustain yourself on something other than regular gratification) I've always felt a strong affinity for our players, including the ones who weren't superstars. I loved Darren Fletcher. O'Shea's wasn't a major talent but he's part of our story, and he once nutmegged Figo and kept a clean sheet at Spurs. Silvestre was part of our story, and I remember him and his oddly shaped head with affection. I think today's Rashford-haters would be 'too ambitious for the club' to have anything good to say about these players, and that's nothing to do with race.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The first part of that post made me very sad, but you turned me around in the middle section

(All bang on, by the way )

posted 4 days, 8 hours ago

comment by And... Rosso... Though its... Yeah and... That... (U17054)
posted 3 hours, 3 minutes ago
comment by Red Russian (U4715)
posted 1 hour, 25 minutes ago
comment by Robbb (U22716)
posted 6 minutes ago
I think deeeeeep down the idea that a young black man getting above his station in life triggers a few peoples inbuilt prejudices.
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe in some instances, but I attribute more of it to the wider capacity of our fans to feel no affinity with any player unless he is living up to their standards. For a lot of fans there is no sense of being part of a 'community' - football has become more of a commodity and it's primarily about gratification of the desire for entertainment and glory. I think we all share those desires, and it's the constant hope of those highs that sustains us. But (as a child of the 80s when being a United fan meant you had to sustain yourself on something other than regular gratification) I've always felt a strong affinity for our players, including the ones who weren't superstars. I loved Darren Fletcher. O'Shea's wasn't a major talent but he's part of our story, and he once nutmegged Figo and kept a clean sheet at Spurs. Silvestre was part of our story, and I remember him and his oddly shaped head with affection. I think today's Rashford-haters would be 'too ambitious for the club' to have anything good to say about these players, and that's nothing to do with race.
----------------------------------------------------------------------
The first part of that post made me very sad, but you turned me around in the middle section

(All bang on, by the way)
----------------------------------------------------------------------

Always an emotional rollercoaster reading my posts, Rosso!

How are you getting on with your recuperation, by the way?

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