Man Utd: Shearer claims ‘Ronaldo leaving’ is the ‘biggest thing’ behind attacker’s rise under Ten Hag

Shearer on Man Utd Credit: Alamy
Shearer on Man Utd Credit: Alamy

Alan Shearer thinks Cristiano Ronaldo “leaving” Man Utd is the “biggest thing” behind Marcus Rashford’s return to form for Man Utd.

Rashford was one player who looked likely to leave Man Utd last summer. This followed his injury-disrupted season under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick in 2021/22.

Ligue 1 giants PSG are known to be admirers of Rashford and they pushed for him last year, but he ended up opting to remain at Man Utd.

The attacker has been afforded a fresh start under Erik ten Hag and he has enjoyed a brilliant season in 22/23. He has grabbed 30 goals and 11 assists in his 55 appearances.

His form dipped slightly during the run-in but this season has still been an immense success for Rashford, and Shearer thinks the Englishman has benefitted from Ronaldo’s departure.

The Newcastle legend thinks Rashford knows “he’s the main man” and he “can be himself” now that Ronaldo has left the club.

“Quite a few things Gary, there’s no doubt Erik ten Hag has helped him, his finishing definitely has improved, he’s fitter now, last season he had a lot of injuries that didn’t help him,” Shearer said via BBC’s coverage of the FA Cup final.

“But, and it’s a big but, I think the biggest thing that’s happened to him is Ronaldo leaving.

“He feels as though he’s the main man, he can be himself, he feels as though it doesn’t matter if he misses a chance, he’s still going to get another one and another game.

“You can see that in the 17 or 19 games since Ronaldo left, so that tells you the answer… He looks happier and a big reason for that is Ronaldo leaving.”

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Shearer’s comments came after Rashford revealed to Gary Lineker that he used to be “too impatient” when he played as a No.9.

“I’ve always had the hunger to score, [but] this is what I needed to get right about playing as a No.9, because this is what used to frustrate me the most,” Rashford told Gary Lineker for BBC Sport.

“I don’t like missing chances; I’d rather miss a chance than not get a chance. Sometimes when I was a No.9, I’d just be too impatient.

“I’d try and get on the ball because I’ve not seen much of it and then the ball would go wide and I’d know where I need to be in the box, but I’m one second late and it would frustrate me.”

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