Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford will rotate the striker’s role during games as Manchester United continue to finesse their new attacking approach.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer settled on Martial and Rashford in his attack when he became caretaker manager in December and Martial has reclaimed the number nine Zlatan Ibrahimovic took off him three years ago. Rashford has also said on a number of occasions he does not regard himself as a traditional number nine, despite a preference to play through the middle.
Although Martial is starting games as the centre forward, his experience on the left flank and Rashford’s stints there have convinced Solskjaer to have the pair interchange during matches as part of United’s more fluid style.
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“Anthony’s had spells when he’s played number nine as a centre forward under [Louis] van Gaal, then he’s played on the left the last few years,” Solskjaer said. “I think him and Marcus both are capable of playing both positions. Sometimes it will be Marcus through the middle and Anthony on the left, or Dan James on the left and maybe one of them on the right.
“But, of course, the goals are scored from between the posts and not the worldies that we’ve seen them score, both of them, Marcus and Anthony with curlers in the top corner or dribble. I want both of them to be more scoring easy goals because you don’t have to work too hard to score them, just a little bit of movement.
“It was a great counter-attack [against Chelsea], great runs by Anthony and I think maybe he felt he should have got the first pass, it went a little bit wide out to Jesse [Lingard] and he stopped. But then he got himself back in a good position and even though he might have mishit it it went in.
“So if you can get five extra goals like this every season, both of them, that’s 10.”
When Solskjaer was asked who was the most natural finisher out of Rashford and Martial, he replied – with a wink: “They’ve still got a way to go because Mason [Greenwood]’s more of a natural finisher than them too.”