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Rashford makes case for starting spot

Rashford makes case for starting spot
From ESPN - July 15, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Here are three things we saw in Manchester United's 5-2 victory over the LA Galaxy in the opener of the Premier League team's US tour on Saturday night:

1. Rashford shows Lukaku that he has competition

Jose Mourinho still wants to add another attacking player to his Man United squad this summer, with Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic no longer available to him, but Marcus Rashford gave a glimpse of the attacking riches he still has at Old Trafford with a two-goal display.

Rashford, still only 19, would have had a first-half hat trick in the StubHub Center but for a save by Galaxy goalkeeper Jon Kempin on 43 minutes when he had been put through on goal by Michael Carrick.

Yet even though the England youngster should have done better with that chance, he had already done enough in the opening period to show Mourinho the progress he is continuing to make and also to warn new signing Romelu Lukaku that he may not have the centre-forward position to himself this season.

Lukaku, a 90m buy from Everton, made his United debut by replacing Rashford at the start of the second half, but the Belgian could not replicate his new team-mate's eye-catching performance.

Rashford's pace destroyed Galaxy, but he also appears more powerful after his summer break, having benefited from not expending his energies with England U21s in the European Under-21 Championships in June. With pace and power, he will cause problems for any defence he faces, whether he plays through the middle or out wide.

Clearly, Lukaku will start the campaign as centre-forward and spend most of the season there, but Rashford will make him earn that position and give Mourinho the option of playing him through the middle instead if the new man struggles to make an early impact.

2. Carrick and Pereira offer contrasting options in midfield

Michael Carrick's elevation to the Manchester United captaincy is a sign of Mourinho's admiration of the 35-year-old, but his age will clearly prevent him from playing on a weekly basis this season.

The former England midfielder gave a classy first-half performance, rarely losing the ball and controlling the tempo of the game against admittedly inferior opposition.

And with Carrick making way for Andreas Pereira at half-time, the Brazilian youngster was given the chance to prove he can offer something different for United and Mourinho this season. The 21-year-old is highly rated at United, but his first-team opportunities have been limited, prompting him to spend last season on loan at Granada, who ultimately suffered relegation from La Liga.

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