Rashford is becoming a key figure within the United team and is spearheading their forward play, while Keane believes that his former side needs a frontrunner on the pitch and hopes that Rashford can follow Ronaldo’s example throughout the Portuguese star’s first spell at Old Trafford and take up that responsibility.
“Marcus, what’s he 25 years of age? That is where he’s peaking now,” Keane told Sky Sports. “Over the previous few years he’s played lots of games for United, big games for England, and sometimes the penny drops for a player by way of his decision-making and putting the ball behind the online. They’ve type of needed him.
“That is the query mark I’ve had over Marcus the previous few years – has he got that personality to step as much as the plate? United have had some great strikers over time – Ronaldo, [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, Andy Cole, Mark Hughes, the list goes on and on. I believe United need someone like that and I hope Marcus is saying ‘listen, I would like that responsibility to be the principal man.’
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“You take a look at him physically, we were on the pitchside and also you see the players, you take a look at Marcus coming out and he’s, he looks lean,” Keane added. “You wouldn’t wish to be up against him. If you happen to’re a full-back and he’s running at you, all the very best.
“You will have to get people in and around to allow you to, and Forest didn’t really try this well enough tonight, and after they did there wasn’t communication or they weren’t aggressive enough. When Marcus is running at you all the very best, he looks like a correct, lean fighting machine.
“When a player leaves a club sometimes the responsibility comes right down to a player. Again, he’s 25, he’s not a toddler anymore, sometimes perhaps it’s just the timing but he’s ready for that. He doesn’t appear to have any niggles anymore whereas the last yr or two he was missing one or two games due to that groin, little niggly injuries like that. He seems to have cleared all that up and he’s twiddling with confidence and he’s in place mentally as well which is large.”