The Manchester United and England all-time top goalscorer, who left the club to return his boyhood team Everton in the summer, is Rashford’s hero and told talkSPORT the advice he would give him.
Rashford is in the best season of his career, having broken into the Man United side as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, replacing the injured Anthony Martial against FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League and scoring brace.
This season, Rashford has been directly involved in 16 goals in 27 games (nine goals, seven assists). That’s one more than last season’s total in 53 games.
Rooney outlined what Rashford must change in his game in an interview with talkSPORT, explaining, “sometimes, early on in my career I was working too hard tracking back and Alex Ferguson sat me down.
“It does affect when you’re in the opponents’ box. You’re a bit leggy. Alex Ferguson told me not to do so much work and be ready for when we get chances.
“I feel with Rashford it’s maybe a bit of the same. You see him going back into the full-back areas.
“It’s great he’s got that enthusiasm but, to get the best out of him going forward, he maybe needs to let the defenders and the midfielders do it.”
Rashford has often been picked ahead of fellow young striking talent Anthony Martial in big games, and it often seems that’s because of his defensive workrate.
Mourinho, until recently at least, trusted Rashford more than his teammate. However, perhaps the solution is to encourage that side of Rashford’s game when he’s playing on the left flank, as he usually does due to Romelu Lukaku starting up top, in big games, but encourage the selfishness that Rooney is describing to come out against smaller sides where his defensive efforts are needed less.
It’s interesting advice from Rooney, who was often seen charging back to help in defence as a young striker. It earned him the love of United’s support, but his best goalscoring seasons came later on when that side of his game decreased slightly and his efforts were more focused on staying in attack.