Marcus Rashford and the goal celebration that goes beyond football
Marcus Rashford and the goal celebration that goes beyond football
Marcus Rashford is the player in his greatest form Major leagueif not in European football.
The Manchester United the forward has scored 10 goals in as many games since returning from World Cup, already twice as much as last season. When he plays like this, he is so rare: a player who can score at any momentin any way, from any place.
However, let it be a shot from inside the six-yard box against Manchester Citylong range screamer when defeated by Arsenalor a brilliant solo pass through defenders as if they weren’t there, as against Nottingham Forest midweek had one common denominator.
Since the start of the year, all of Rashford’s goals have been accompanied by the same kind of celebration that hadn’t been seen before this burst of unstoppable form.
You know how it goes. He runs up to one of the corner posts, stands still, may close his eyes, but always points his index finger to his temple.
His first outing was after his away winner Wolverhampton Wanderers on New Year’s Eve, the same day Erik ten Haag left him in the starting lineup punishment for sleeping and being late for a meeting.
It has accompanied every goal Rashford has scored since, starting with last-gasp strikes against Bournemouth and Evertonthen twice in a row vs Charlton Athletic and after his Manchester derby winner.
Like Alan Shearer’s raised hand, Gareth Bale’s “heart” and “Sioux” to Cristiano Ronaldo, it becomes a trademark. The only question is what is behind it?
Rashford wants to keep the whole significance under wraps, preferring to keep people guessing, even keeping his cards close to his chest when asked about the celebration by United’s own media team.
Those who suggested Rashford were copying Aurelien Chuamenisimilar celebration after his goal against England Qatar is eagle-eyed but mistaken.
Rashford’s celebration originated between him and his close friends.
This comes as Rashford eschews the external noise that has dogged him at times during his career and seeks a new focus.
Such attention appears to have led to dazzling form, and combined with United’s busy schedule, that form has meant that the celebration has been watched virtually twice a week since its inception, and broadcast to millions around the world each time.
Not surprisingly, it took on a life of its own and began to go beyond sports.
Jofra Archer, an English cricketer, received it after taking wickets on his return to competitive matches in South Africa’s SA20. Archer has arguably just come off the toughest spell of his career, having spent the last 18 months on the sidelines with elbow and back injuries.
Jofra Archer x Marcus Rashford #SA20pic.twitter.com/MHARlONG7w
— The Cricketer (@TheCricketerMag) January 23, 2023
But he was far from the first, and the list of imitators is growing. Tammy Abraham commented under Rashford’s Instagram post, which featured a celebration against Everton, then followed it up after scoring a stoppage-time equalizer in Roma’s 2-2 draw Milan on the same weekend.
Danny Welbeck was the first Premier League player to imitate Rashford by pointing to his temple after scoring Brightonthird in their 3-0 win Liverpool this month.
Welbeck spoke to Rashford before using the holiday and spent it in solidarity with another local-born academy graduate, hours after United’s Manchester derby victory.
Then, this week, it moved to European football on Tuesday night Joshua Kimmich copied him after scoring in Bayern Munich’s 1-1 draw with Cologne.
that same night Joelinton did the same after scoring NewcastleCarabao Cup semi-final win vs Southamptonflexing the muscles with the same arm for good measure.
The first player to pay his respects was a more unlikely individual: Chesterfield winger Armando Dobra, who stopped and pointed to his head after scoring in the National League’s 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion in FA Cup the third round.
Perhaps the most intriguing imitation so far has been an imitation Bukayo Saka. The Arsenal youngster imitated Rashford by running into the same corner of the stadium after his side won 2-1 at the Emirates on Sunday in a 3-2 victory that added to the excitement in this part of north London.
Was this the last frontier in a game with a rich history of interpersonal struggles? Maybe, but it seems unlikely. Rashford and Sakho know each other well from international duty and embraced as they exited the tunnel side by side before kick-off.
And, after all, who would be against Rashford celebrating his own renaissance? He spoke of struggling to get his head in the right place last season, when he lost his place in the England squad and played 90 minutes just once after the start of the year.
After reaching a century of goals for United, he spoke about that difficult period.
“Sometimes I’ve struggled with more mental things,” Rashford said in October. “It wasn’t my own game, it was other things off the field. This is the biggest difference from last season. Too often last season I wasn’t in the right space to make plays.”
Rashford is far from the only player at Old Trafford enjoying a new lease of life after suffering last season. Ten Haag said the same in the build-up to the FA Cup fourth round match against Readingwhich suggests greater self-belief in United’s attack compared to earlier this season.
“The front line now also gives me a positive feeling, it’s also getting stronger and then they can get more out of each other,” said the United manager.
“In the first (part) of the season, for example, we had a lot of problems in the first line. We often had games where we didn’t have players who were 100 percent physically and mentally fit. Now it’s a lot more, and Marcus can get even more out of those situations.”
Ten Haag, in particular, refused to take credit for his player’s return to form and instead put it down to Rashford having much more faith in his own abilities.
“I’m not Harry Potter. It’s just confidence,” said the United manager. “Every player has to do and get their own confidence. He fought for it, he invested in it.”
Rashford has undoubtedly benefited from the greater sense of structure that Ten Hag has brought to United, as have virtually all of his team-mates, and the manager has not denied that.
“With my coaching staff, we’re putting in structures, especially in the way we play, that give him the routines he needs to get in the right position,” Ten Haag said. “But at the end of the day, it’s up to him, up to the player.”
(Top photo: Naomi Baker via Getty Images)
#Marcus #Rashford #goal #celebration #football