Marcus Rashford relaxed thanks to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s goalscoring tips that he gave during brief meeting before he was appointed interim boss
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Marcus Rashford a pep talk back in November
- Before being appointed as interim boss, Solskjaer met Rashford at Old Trafford
- After missing an easy chance, Rashford was disappointed against Young Boys
- Solskjaer told him to ‘relax’ – Rashford was ice cool to score late penalty in Paris
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was still a month away from being installed as caretaker manager of Manchester United when he started improving Marcus Rashford’s game.
It began with a chance meeting in a corridor at Old Trafford after the Champions League win over Young Boys in November. United had won the match but Rashford was disappointed that he had missed an easy chance.
‘I said, “Don’t worry son, just relax a little bit”,’ Solskjaer recalled. ‘Scoring goals was my X-factor, so if I can help and guide him a little bit then great. It will be great to work with such a potential top striker, just on his calmness in front of goal.’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Marcus Rashford a pep talk back at Old Trafford back in November
That last comment came to mind in the Parc des Princes on Wednesday when Rashford stood over the penalty in stoppage time with United’s Champions League fate resting on one strike of his right foot.
While players jostled and the home fans jeered, the 21-year-old stayed calm to beat Gianluigi Buffon with his first penalty for United.
Afterwards, Rashford’s demeanour belied his years as he discussed the most intense moment of his United career. ‘It was just about keeping a cool head,’ he said. ‘That’s what you practise for. I wanted to take it.’
Rashford was disappointed he had missed an easy chance against Young Boys in November
The fine finish has shown how Rashford has gained from the former United striker’s expert knowledge and club insiders talk of a ‘special relationship’ between the pair.
Solskjaer has shown enough faith in the player to make him United’s first-choice forward ahead of £75million Romelu Lukaku.
Rashford has matured into the striker United hoped he could be after he burst on to the scene as a teenager three years ago.
Rashford stayed calm as he stepped over the penalty before successfully converting it
Talks over a new contract are progressing and he is expected to commit his long-term future to his boyhood club. For England, too, Rashford is part of the exciting new generation.
It has been noted around the England camp that Rashford has come out of his shell, particularly when Southgate’s insistence on getting players to mix more means he is separated from Jesse Lingard, his best friend.
Lingard, one of nine injured players left at home on Wednesday, was the first to contact Rashford and congratulate him for keeping calm when it mattered most.