Fans of Man United hoping for a quick return to action for Marcus Rashford following the backlash of the Euros final defeat may have to wait quite a bit longer.
As per the Telegraph, Rashford has decided to go ahead with surgery for a long pressing shoulder injury that has afflicted him since last season. As a result of the same, the English forward could be out of action for at least three more months.
Thus, Ole Gunnar Solskjær will have to envision a starting lineup bereft of the prolific attacker who has had back-to-back personal best seasons in terms of goal contributions.
Here are two ways United can lineup with their existing resources.
1. Sancho on the Left
This is the formation that will see Jadon Sancho slot in at left forward for the side. The striker’s role will be occupied by the experienced feet of Edinson Cavani while Mason Greenwood will continue to ply his trade from the right forward spot.
Such a setup would build on the kind of precedent on the left flank that Sancho has already demonstrated during his time at Borussia Dortmund. It would also ensure that Greenwood would continue to play a fairly familiar role rather than throw the entire attacking lineup into relative disarray due to Rashford’s recovery.
Moreover, with someone like Bruno Fernandes making up the creative central attacking midfielder, Sancho on the left would give further leeway to be the source of a goal-scoring threat rather than the sole provider. Likewise, building on Luke Shaw’s success over last season and in the Euros, the left flank can well and truly become the go-to flank of danger from which to best execute Solskjær’s attacking ethos.
2. Martial on the Left
This formation would see Anthony Martial occupy the left-flank in the 4-2-1-3 set-up with Greenwood and Sancho occupying the other two roles.
Here, the key would be Martial’s recovery from injury and a much-needed rest over the mid-season. The French striker has been out of action for a while now and his form prior to the injury wasn’t exactly the best. As such, the absence of Rashford will be the perfect occasion to enable the former Monaco man to return to the wings where he first stamped his presence not too long ago and execute the picturesque cut-ins that have become the trademark of his style.
However, this set-up will see Martial revert back to the wing with Greenwood continuing in the middle. Likewise, Sancho will fulfil the specialist spot that has long been begging for a world-class presence at the Theatre of Dreams.
Further still, this set-up can also see Greenwood slot in and replacing Cavani more regularly, giving the academy graduate a chance to play in his preferred spot as a striker. Therein, a fluid trident can be created where both Martial and Greenwood can slot in and out of the striker’s role, creating trouble for the opposition’s defense.
All in all, while Rashford’s absence is an issue given that Solskjær will miss out on him approaching his prime goalscoring form, the versatility of options old and new at the Theatre of Dreams will create the precise offensive dynamic that Sir Alex Ferguson championed during the glory years of the club.