Zlatan Ibrahimovic: This is how I can help Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial

by Leo Nieboer

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has shed light on how he can help younger players like Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial at Manchester United this season.

The Swede, who arrived at the club in July, has netted 13 goals in 23 appearances, scoring eight goals in his last eight games in a Man United shirt.

Several players, including Rashford, have praised the 35-year-old for what he brings both on and off the pitch at United.

Zlatan, speaking to ManUtd.com following United’s 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur, claimed he aims to help those around him through his style of play.

“I try to help in every way I can with my experience and the goals will come. Goals are extra, a bonus lets say. If I score then I help the team, but I think I can help in many ways and this is the experience thing,” he said.

“Marcus is a young player, his career has just begun and I am towards the end of my career.

“I try to help in many ways without the ball, with the ball, with movements, by communicating, by sacrificing. It is part of the game and as a player I want to be as complete as possible, so this is one of the things I have been trying to do.

“The last game against Everton was more risky, but I was confident we would not concede any goals. We looked good through the whole game. We had a lot of confidence and control. If we had conceded a goal at the end I would not know what to say – it would be the most disappointing moment of my career.”

For years I recognised Zlatan as nothing more than a boisterous, devastating goal machine, relentlessly tearing apart lesser sides with thunderous volleys and scorpion kicks. And yet, watching the Swede this season, it has become crystal clear that such a view serves as a gross oversimplification.

Implicit in Ibrahimovic’s game is a real sense of technical prowess and footballing intelligence. His role as a No.9 goes far beyond goals, placing more emphasis instead on holding the ball, drawing defenders, creating space and unleashing cutting-edge passes for the likes of Rashford and Martial to chase. And such an influence gives the pair a great platform from which to develop even further at Old Trafford this season.

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