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‘I’m not Harry Potter’: Erik ten Hag on Marcus Rashford’s magical form | Manchester United

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Erik ten Hag has laughed off his role in Marcus Rashford’s impressive turnaround in form, saying he is not Harry Potter.

Rashford’s strike in Manchester United’s 3-0 Carabao Cup win at Nottingham Forest on Wednesday was his 10th in 10 games. Last season he managed five in 32 appearances prompting questions about Ten Hag’s role in the 25-year-old’s resurgence.

“I’m not Harry Potter,” said the United manager, in reference to the fictional wizard. “It’s just confidence. Every player has to make and get his own confidence. He fought for this, he invested in this. Of course with my coaching staff, we bring in structures, especially in the way of play that give him routines that he needs to get into the right position.

“But finally, it’s up to him, and when the player has the confidence then I’m convinced, in the way we are working – the way of play is most important but the environment and the culture are also important – then the player can perform at his best. It’s obvious that Marcus is in really good form. From day to day, from training to training, from game to game, the routines are coming in.”

Harry Maguire may start at home to Reading in Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie. The captain is no longer an automatic choice and with Luke Shaw preferred for major games, including the win over Manchester City a fortnight ago, Ten Hag was asked whether Maguire was now behind Raphaël Varane, Lisandro Martínez, Victor Lindelöf and Shaw in the pecking order of centre-backs.

“No, he’s not fifth choice,” he said. “But it’s up to him. I have to say he’s training very well, bringing quality, and that is what I expect from all the players in the squad. He has to fight for his position and things can change, sometimes really quickly. He is making progress.”

Ten Hag was pressed that he never picks Maguire for significant matches. “That’s not true. After the World Cup he should have played but then he got ill. I can’t do anything about that and he knows that. Then the team comes in a run [of form] and he has to wait for his chance.”

Ten Hag would like to strengthen the squad before the transfer window closes on Tuesday. “If we had the opportunity I would go for it but that’s not up to me,” he said.

Jadon Sancho has an outside chance of making the squad having been sidelined since October. Anthony Martial is a doubt due to a leg injury.


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