MANCHESTER, United Kingdom, Apr 21 – Marcus Rashford admits there were “ups and downs” with former manager Jose Mourinho, but the Manchester United forward feels stronger for the experience.
Having flourished under Louis Van Gaal, the 22-year-old remained a key component under the Portuguese during his topsy-turvy two-and-a-half-year stint in the Old Trafford dugout.
The Europa League was among three trophies won by Mourinho in his first season, with United finishing as Premier League and FA Cup runners-up in his second campaign before things unravelled during his third.
It was a challenging period but one that the England international has benefited from.
“It was tough but I think in five or six years’ time, you look back on it and they’re the moments that will give you that mental toughness,” Rashford said.
“Because as an all-round player, I think I’ve improved a lot and a lot of it is down to them two years under Jose.
“Yeah, we had ups and downs, but when I look back on it, it was a tough period but definitely a period that made me a better player.”
Rashford has been out since mid-January with a back injury, which meant featuring for United again this season and representing England at Euro 2020 was up in the air.
But the coronavirus suspension will give him time to recover – and means he will not have to go into the European Championship short of full fitness.
“Yeah, for me I was probably going to go back with the team in the middle or end of April, but that would have been a push because obviously I didn’t want to miss the summer,” Rashford told the Utd Podcast.
“I doubt I would have been 100 per cent fit going into that tournament or even finishing off the season, but that’s what we were aiming for and obviously since then a lot has happened with this virus.
“So, for my body, really, it’s been good to just let it (rest). I can give it its full duration to rest.”
Former United and England team-mate Wayne Rooney recently said he should not have gone to the 2006 World Cup due to a foot injury, suggesting Rashford should not push it if he was in a similar position.
“I definitely pay attention but at the same time when it comes down to it, making the decision whether you feel like you can go or you can’t go, it’s tough to basically say no to something where you could give it a good go,” the United forward said. “But I understand what he’s saying.
“It’s one of them things as players you want to try and play every game you can, really, and of course you are going to have niggles and little injuries, but you know timing’s key in everything.
“If it’s not the right time to do it, then you have to try and pull yourself out of it.”