Marcus Rashford continued to drive Manchester United’s renaissance as his latest goal gave his side a memorable win in the Manchester derby on Saturday.
After two seasons of struggle, the 25-year-old has rediscovered his form and has scored in each of his last seven appearances.
Here the PA news agency looks at how the former academy graduate’s season has taken off since the World Cup and how he is now flourishing under new manager Erik ten Hag.
The signs were there at the start of the campaign as Rashford scored eight in 19 although he tended to score in bursts, twice scoring two in a game.
But, significantly, his contributions were important, including winners against Liverpool, Arsenal, Omonia Nicosia and West Ham.
Post-World Cup acceleration
— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) January 13, 2023
The trip to Qatar, where he was not in Gareth Southgate’s first-choice side, appears to have been a major confidence boost as he came off the bench to score in the thrashing of Iran and then grabbed two against Wales in a rare start.
He hit the ground running on his return to club football with the crucial second goal in a Carabao Cup win over Burnley and has not looked back.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 14, 2023
Prior to the World Cup break Rashford was averaging a goal contribution – a goal or assist – every 129.5 minutes for United.
In the month since returning from Qatar he has improved that considerably to one every 49.8 minutes – eight goals and three assists in 547.5 minutes including stoppage time.
His goal against City saw him become the first United player since Cristiano Ronaldo in April 2008 to score in seven consecutive appearances in all competitions, netting against Nottingham Forest, Wolves, Bournemouth and City in the league, Burnley and Charlton (twice) in the League Cup and Everton in the FA Cup.
United’s form has also benefited from his upturn as they have won nine consecutive matches in all competitions for the first time since January 2017 – Rashford scoring in all bar November’s 2-1 win at Fulham.
He has 16 goals in 26 appearances this season, already his third-best career tally in more than seven years at first-team level.
How is he faring against his England rivals?
On current form, none of his international team-mates can compare. Tottenham striker and England captain Harry Kane is closest, with four goals in five games since the restart.
Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka scored in back-to-back matches following his return but has drawn a blank in his next four.
Chelsea’s Raheem Sterling has one in three, while Manchester City duo Phil Foden and Jack Grealish also have one apiece. Newcastle’s Callum Wilson has gone five games without a goal since returning.