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Marcus Rashford: Man United Must Create More 'Opportunities' for Anthony Martial

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2019

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28:  Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates with teammate Marcus Rashford after scoring his teams first goal during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Manchester United at Turf Moor on December 28, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Marcus Rashford has called on his Manchester United team-mates to take advantage of Anthony Martial's finishing quality by creating more opportunities for the forward.

Martial and Rashford were on the scoresheet either side of half-time on Saturday, when the Red Devils battled to a 2-0 win over Burnley in the Premier League.

The former has been given a prolonged run at the point of the United attack and has rewarded his manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with some excellent performances. Rashford has challenged his fellow players to get Martial in front of goal as much as possible to capitalise on his ruthless streak, per Matt Maltby of the Daily Mirror:

"He's brilliant when he's one-against-one with the keeper. It's down to us to give him more of those opportunities.

"As a number nine you thrive off those opportunities and we know that when he is in front of goal, when he's calm and confident like he is right now, it's only going one way. So, we just need to keep feeding him, let him keep scoring goals, keep the confidence high and we should be all right going forward."

Martial capitalised on some slack defending to open the scoring at Burnley, with Rashford wrapping up the game with a late counter-attack:

The France international has suffered some injury issues this season, although when United have been able to get him and Rashford on the field, they have excelled in tandem:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

⭐️Anthony Martial (10) & Marcus Rashford (9) have scored 1⃣9⃣ goals in 1⃣6⃣ starts together this season⭐️ 🔥Martial v Burnley ⚽️ Apr 2017 at Turf Moor ⚽️ Jan 2018 at Turf Moor ⚽️Dec 2019 at Turf Moor https://t.co/LInotW2lE7

Since he arrived at United in 2015, there have been plenty of discussions over where Martial is most effective, as he's been used on the left flank as well as at the point of the attack.

This season, the 24-year-old has made his strongest case yet that he's most influential through the middle. Leading the line may mean Martial is not as involved in general play, but United are able to utilise his blistering speed in behind defences when he plays as a striker.

James Robson of the Evening Standard commented on how much of a challenge he is for opponents:

James Robson @jamesrobsonES

Martial off. Another very good game for him at No9. When he’s up for it, he’s hard for any defence to handle

When he does find himself in goalscoring positions, the United No. 9 is deadly. The Tactical Times Twitter account summed up how productive he's been:

The Tactical Times @Tactical_Times

With 10 goals and 3 assists in 19 appearances, Anthony Martial is currently averaging a goal or assist every 107 minutes in all competitions. Still 45 minutes to go at Turf Moor, of course. I wouldn't bet against him grabbing another.

For long spells of the season, the Red Devils have been without their most creative player, Paul Pogba, meaning the attacking stars have been deprived of quality service. But the likes of Martial and Rashford have been able to shine nonetheless.

The challenge for both players is maintaining this level of productivity over the course of an entire campaign, as they have both shown inconsistency in the past. If the team can increase their output in terms of big chances for the forwards, then that would be a huge help.