Former Manchester United star Dimitar Berbatov has suggested that Erik ten Hag should possibly hand Marcus Rashford the armband in an effort to solve the club’s goalscoring woes – a move that would undoubtedly be unpopular with Bruno Fernandes.
Berbatov explained that such a drastic measure could serve to hand Rashford more responsibilities and subsequently motivate him to perform better.
The Englishman has struggled for consistent form this season. He has only managed three goals across all competitions and has been a far cry from the devastating player he was last term.
At times, Rashford has cut a very frustrated and defeated figure. He temporarily lost his place in the starting XI to Alejandro Garnacho.
However, with Garnacho now looking nailed-on to play on the right flank, Rashford has recently found himself back into the team.
He’s not the only United forward demonstrating an inability to come up with the goods in front of goal. The likes of Antony, Anthony Martial and Rasmus Hojlund all seem to be experiencing the same problem.
In fact, only Sheffield United and Burnley have scored fewer goals than the Red Devils in the Premier League. Even worse is that nobody in England’s top flight has a worse conversion rate than Ten Hag’s men.
Berbatov spoke to The Daily Mail and explained that he views Rashford as the solution to United’s attacking issues.
The Bulgarian said, “I think that at one point, Ten Hag should give him the armband and say, ‘look, I’ve given you even more responsibility, it’s up to you to man up and show me what you might have.’ Just provoke him and see what happens.”
“That new contract that he signed in the summer [should] give him the confidence to continue and stay at United but at the same time to understand that he’s experienced enough, mature enough, that he needs to lead the strikers.”
“In his case, something is going on. I don’t know what it is – maybe something in his personal life, maybe something in the dressing room, maybe something on the training pitch. Obviously, it’s not working as before.”
Berbatov added, “And he needs to find that answer as soon as possible. If he finds the answer, that can be the answer for the team moving forward to scoring more goals.”
The former United talisman was asked whether the club should dip into the January transfer window in search of attacking reinforcements.
Berbatov cautioned against this and indicated that such a move would ascertain that United are “lost” and don’t have a clear plan.
He also warned that signing a new goalscorer could potentially damage Hojlund’s confidence.
“He’s [Hojlund] gonna be like, ‘wait a minute, guys. Yes, I’m still a young player, but you bought me just now. And now you’re buying another one? Are you disappointed in me?’ Then his self-belief is going to drop even more.”
“But on the other hand, someone will say, well, what about the competition? Maybe he’s going to be thinking, ‘okay, someone is coming for my place. Maybe I will up my game even more.'”
Up next for United is the unenviable task of hosting high-flying Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Sunday.