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Manchester-Uniteds-Zlatan-Ibrahimovic-celebrates-scoring-their-second-goal-with-Jesse-Lingard-and-M.jpg

Lingard backing born-again Rashford to fill the void left by Ibrahimovic’s injury

Date Posted,April 22, 2017

Jesse Lingard is backing born-again Marcus Rashford to fill the goalscoring void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s season-ending injury at Manchester United.

With the Old Trafford club still reeling from the loss of their talismanic top scorer for the business end of the campaign, Lingard reckons it is time for the players Ibra has left behind to step up to the plate.

And the England midfielder reckons Rashford’s stunning return to form could not have come at a better time for Jose Mourinho.

Rashford, 19, has now found the target in three of United’s last four games – after going six months without a Premier League goal.

And with Mourinho’s men making a surge for a top-four finish and moving into the semi-finals of the Europa League, Lingard insisted: “Marcus has now has that confidence all strikers need to put the ball in the back of the net week in, week out.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s injury has left a void (Photo: REUTERS)

“He is very mature. That six-month gap didn’t faze him because he is always going to score goals no matter what position he plays, as winger or up front.

“Marcus is so direct when he gets the ball. He gets the fans on their feet and that’s what they want to see.

“I think he has progressed a lot from last season, He is still young so he has got a lot of learning still to do, but as long as he keeps firing in the goals no-one can say anything bad to him.

“I just think it is natural with Marcus. Coming through the youth ranks, they tell you from a young age to be humble and stay humble, and I think he’s done that.

“He always keeps his feet on the ground.

Jesse Lingard (L) and Marcus Rashford (R) of England arrive at the stadium prior to the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between England and Scotland at Wembley Stadium on November 11, 2016 in London, England.
Lingard and Rashford during international duty (Photo: The FA via Getty Images)

“This is a team game and everyone now has to chip in as much as they can.

“It is now up to the other front players to produce. We have at least 10 games left so there are plenty of chances to put the ball into the back of the net.”

Ibrahimovic has scored 28 goals in his first season with United – including two in the EFL Cup Final and the winner in the Community Shield.

But Michael Carrick has played behind some lethal forwards during his 11 years at Old Trafford.

And the midfielder agrees with Lingard that Rashford will grasp the opportunity to prove that his meteoric rise last season was no fluke.

Carrick said: “I’m not going to come out with some crazy statement about Marcus’ future, but at the moment he’s doing very well and he’s also in the right place to develop.

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