Alexis Sanchez has been placed next to Marcus Rashford in the Manchester United dressing room with hopes that the Chilean will mentor his new teammate.
The Sun report that manager Jose Mourinho has made the decision amid feelings around the coaching staff that Sanchez can help take Rashford to the next level. Jesse Lingard is also next to Sanchez to aid his development simultaneously.
The 29-year-old signed a four-and-a-half year deal at the club last week as Henrikh Mkhitaryan joined Arsenal in a straight player-swap deal. He made his debut in Man United’s FA Cup Fourth Round tie with Yeovil Town, where he assisted and was named Man of the Match in a 4-0 dispatching of the League Two side in which Rashford scored.
Rashford’s already benefitted from a number of fantastic, experienced forwards. Wayne Rooney, the Wythenshawe-born’s hero as a kid watching United, helped Rashford with both United and England as captain for both club and country.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived at the same time as Mourinho, signing on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain. His mentality, professionalism and quality will have been invaluable to Rashford. Still at the club, he’s ready to return in the next couple of weeks from injury and once more be a positive influence on Rashford.
But Sanchez is a new prospect. After spells at Udinese, FC Barcelona and Arsenal, Sanchez is well-placed to help Rashford, particularly as a player who has played right across the frontline as Rashford has had to do so far in his career.
His mentality, drive and determination, which he shows on the pitch frequently, should rub off on the younger players like Rashford. Perhaps the idea that Rashford needs taking to another level via Sanchez shows that Mourinho sees Anthony Martial as further down the line in terms of his development.
The Frenchman has begun to oust Rashford from the starting line-up after Rashford had been heavily favoured last season.
It’s a small decision and action to place Sanchez where he has been reportedly placed, but it’s small things that take a footballer from one level to the next.