Marcus Rashford has said he is recovering well from a serious back injury and pointed to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and José Mourinho as key to his development at Manchester United.
The striker had scored a career-best 19 goals before sustaining a double stress fracture in mid-January. Ole Gunnar Solskjær said it was “touch and go” whether Rashford would play again this season, and the 22-year-old’s has benefited from football’s coronavirus shutdown in terms of his recuperation.
“I was probably going to go back with the team towards the middle or end of April,” he told United’s app. “But that would have been a push because I didn’t want to miss the summer [England’s Euro 2020 campaign].
“I doubt I would have been 100% fit going into that tournament, or even finishing off the season, but that’s what we were aiming for. Since then, a lot’s happened with this virus so, for my body really, it’s been good to give it its full duration to rest. I need to step it up a little bit now but it’s difficult to do with not being in the training ground. To try to emulate that at home, it’s almost impossible.”
Rashford first played with Ibrahimovic during 2016-17 when the Swede was United’s top scorer with 28 goals. “His mentality was beyond anything I’d ever played with before,” Rashford said. “He didn’t care what anyone would say or what anyone was saying about him. In terms of mentality, he was key to my development.”
Mourinho was manager from summer 2016 until December 2018. Rashford did not always start under the Portuguese but got a lot of game time.
“As someone [Zlatan] who’d played under him before, he knew you had to be a certain way to survive under him, and that was good [for me, too],” Rashford said. “It was tough but, in five or six years’ time, I’ll look back and they’re the moments that give you that mental toughness and make you an all-round player.
“I’ve improved a lot and a lot of it is down to those two years under José. We had ups and downs but, when I look back on it, it was a tough period, but it made me a better player.”