Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been told to try using Marcus Rashford off the substitutes’ bench against Arsenal – despite the attacker scoring a midweek hat-trick in the win over RB Leipzig.
Rashford came off the bench on 63 minutes and managed a treble with three goals in less than 20 minutes to seal a resounding Champions League victory at Old Trafford.
The 22-year-old now boasts seven goals and two assists in nine games across all competitions as he looks to maintain his form of last season, in which he managed 22 goals and 11 assists in 44 games.
But Paul Merson reckons the England international, who has lined up as a left-sided forward for United with Anthony Martial as a centre forward, should be tried off the bench by Solskjaer.
The former Arsenal and Aston Villa attacker believes Rashford could be the ideal impact sub following his contribution against Leipzig.
DON’T MISS: Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reacts to Marcus Rashford heroics
Merson wrote for the Daily Star: “Marcus Rashford is the perfect supersub and should start on the bench for Manchester United this weekend.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should use him more often like that because the stats show that’s where he can sometimes be most dangerous.
“When he starts, he doesn’t really score bundles of goals and often finds it difficult. But he came on this week against Leipzig and scored a hat-trick in 16 minutes!
“If you look at when he scores his goals this season, they tell you a story.
“He scored as a sub against Luton in the 88th minute in the EFL Cup. He scored in the second half against Brighton.
PREMIER LEAGUE ON TV: Get NOW TV’s Sky Sports season pass now and save 25 per cent
“He scored in the last minute against Newcastle. He scored with three minutes to go against Paris St-Germain and all his goals against Leipzig were at the end of the game.
“His goals are coming against tired defenders. Maybe United should experiment with that.
“Arsenal is going to be a tight game. If it’s 0-0 after 60 minutes and Rashford comes on just when defenders are getting tired, he could have a field day.
“Don’t get me wrong. Marcus Rashford is too good to spend his whole career as a supersub. He’s an England international.
“But I think he needs a rest and playing a few games off the bench might actually do him some good in the long run.
Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer offers injury update
Man Utd boss Solskjaer urged to sign Upamecano as two legends compared
Man Utd may have unearthed more than one solution to defensive woes
“The rest of United’s bench is not changing a game for Solskjaer. But Rashford can. And there’s no better feeling as a manager than having a weapon like that to bring on.
“Rashford is a better player when the game opens up and there’s space to burst into. But United can’t open games up from the start because they’re not good enough defensively.
“You’ve got to have players who will tire out defenders so that when Rashford comes on those defenders will be on their knees. Anthony Martial can do that. So could Mason Greenwood.”
Merson accepts benching Rashford would be a controversial decision but has urged Solskjaer to have “the bottle” to make such a bold call.
And he thinks Rashford would benefit from trying to be a game-changer off the bench for a short while.
“Rashford is still a young player with a lot of pressure on his shoulders. A few games coming off the bench might do him some good,” he said.
“But has Solskjaer got the bottle to use him like that? If they lose to Arsenal and Rashford hasn’t started, he’ll get slaughtered.
“It’s hard for Solskjaer to do that. Double hard now that he’s just scored a hat-trick. But it might be the right thing to do.
“If I’m a defender I’d much rather have Rashford starting the game and fading than coming on with fresh legs at the end when I’m knackered.
“There are some players who take 15 minutes to get into a game when they come on. Not Rashford. He comes on and he’s into it straight away.
“Solskjaer knows what it’s like. He was the best at that. He will know. But it will take bottle to ask Rashford to do it.
“Good subs see space and burn you with their pace, and he can certainly do that if United use him right. Solskjaer should show some bottle.
“A couple of weeks ago he looked under all sorts of pressure as United boss. They got ripped by Tottenham, and would have done even if they hadn’t had a man sent off.
“Mauricio Pochettino was still out of a job and you wondered whether Solskjaer might get the sack. But he’s turned it around brilliantly and deserves lots of credit.”
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission on any sales of products or services we write about. This article was written completely independently, see more details here