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How did Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford handle the Swansea boo boys?

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Marcus Rashford entered the unknown on Saturday afternoon as he faced a chorus of boos every time he was on the ball at the Liberty Stadium. A popular figure in Manchester and across England after he broke into the international team, his trip to Wales gave him a new experience.

It was his dive against the Swans at Old Trafford at the tail end of last season that earned him the rather vicious reception, and the youngster was clearly taken aback from his very first touch.

Rashford seemed unsettled, and whereas he may have had experience to calm him down in Zlatan Ibrahimovic last season, the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan don’t quite cut the same father figure.

The forward, again playing on the flank with Romelu Lukaku deployed centrally, was at the heart of almost everything that United did going forward in the first half. Rashford’s pace and drive forwards was a major threat, and something that Swansea struggled to deal with.

In fact, despite being taken off in the 75th minute, Rashford managed more shots than any other player with four in total, three of them being on target. It was however, the clearest indication of his frustration.

Off the ball, the striker cut an increasingly irate figure, losing his cool with referee John Moss on several occasions, but his finishing is where his lack of focus was clear. The most obvious example was when he raced through just after the half hour mark, one on one with Lukas Fabianski only to fire the ball straight at him after a powerful run through the middle of the field.

There is no doubting that Swansea singled him out for special attention, looking to physically bully him out of the game. They failed to do that, as his five dribbles show. That was testament to Rashford’s determination and character, even if it wasn’t the perfect display.

Rashford must learn to deal with the heightened pressure in this kind of environment. Considering this was the first time he had to handle such intense pressure on him alone, he handled it well. If he can nail down and work on his finishing and avoid the distractions, he’ll be shrugging off such reactions better than any other teenager in the game.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Manchester United

Marcus Rashford states claim for England start against Panama with purposeful cameo

Jamie Watts

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England put an end to the World Cup opener curse after Harry Kane’s stoppage time winner ensured England started the tournament with a victory, with Tunisia looking more than likely to take their share of the points in Volgograd.

After failing to capitalise on a plethora of first-half opportunities, a penalty – awarded using VAR – was given to Tunisia, and Ferjani Sassi equalised from the spot, heaping pressure on Gareth Southgate’s outfit deep into the second half.

There were a number of changes made to the squad since the preparation friendly against Costa Rica, with one absentee particularly noticeable in long-spells throughout the game, in the form of Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.

Photo: Getty Images

Following a sensational long-range goal in the previous game, the 20-year-old was left out of the starting line-up, and it can be argued that the side missed both his clinical edge in the first-half and his direct running for large periods of the second. The latter is pretty indisputable as his late cameo – 22 minutes from time – was full of the directness and purpose that England were missing in the quest for a second goal.

And England fans have taken to Twitter to demand that Rashford be picked to start in the next clash, against Panama on Sunday:

There seems to be a consensus among England supporters that Rashford should be considered a starter over his city rival Raheem Sterling, in the free centre-forward role behind captain Harry Kane, as the Manchester City man failed to really impact the game, bar a promising opening 20 minutes.

Despite the jubilant end to the game, the warning signs are there and adjustments will have to be made to ensure success in future games against teams operating at the highest level. The star-studded Belgium squad are in red-hot form at the moment, and Southgate has some tinkering to do to before the Three Lions are ready for the step-up in opposition.

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Manchester United

Tottenham should use opportunity to land PSG star Angel Di Maria

The Argentine superstar could be available this summer.

Jamie Watts

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Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino is undoubtedly looking to bolster his attacking options this term, and a number of stellar names have been linked with moves to north London. But so far nothing has gathered any real traction on that front.

Reports from the Sun last month claimed Pochettino made Manchester United‘s Anthony Martial his priority target, but weeks later nothing is any closer to materialising with United asserting that the Frenchman remains in their plans for next season, in reports from Sky Sports.

Photo: Getty Images

Ironically, Tottenham may now have a brief window to land another star previously associated with United. Angel Di Maria could potentially be sold by French champions Paris Saint Germain this summer, as the club need to raise £52 million from player sales to conform with Financial Fair Play regulations, according to reports from Mediaset Premium.

Serie A giants Inter Milan and Napoli are said to be keen on bringing the ex-Real Madrid star to Italy next term, after the Argentine international’s role changed in Paris, due to the acquisitions of superstar forwards Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

Currently, it seems Carlo Ancelotti is favourite to land the player’s signature should he leave, as Di Maria enjoyed the best period of his career under the Italian boss at the Bernabeu, and he could be keen to reunite with him in the near future.

Photo: Getty Images

However, Pochettino would be foolish to let a move for the 30-year-old go uncontested, as he looks to improve the supply line to Harry Kane this summer. Few are as creative as Di Maria, and he could instantly elevate Spurs to new levels next season.

After struggling and leaving Louis Van Gaal’s United in 2015, Di Maria has rediscovered form reminiscent of his best days, bagging an impressive 21 goals and 12 assists despite a limited role in the Parisians’ outfit last campaign.

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Manchester United’s pursuit of Milan Skriniar suggests Tottenham in clear over Toby Alderweireld

Manchester United are focusing their attention on an alternate target this week.

Jamie Watts

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Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is keen to bolster his squad ahead of a push for the Premier League title next term, with a move for Tottenham Hotspur‘s superstar defender Toby Alderweireld reportedly in the offing. However, it appears United are intent on landing an alternative target this week, in Inter Milan’s Milan Skriniar, according to reports from the Sun.

The Portuguese boss was reportedly keen to sort a deal in principle to bring Alderweireld to Old Trafford before the World Cup began on Thursday (the Sun), which would have allowed him to focus on his last few targets before the window closed. But new reports suggest otherwise.

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United are supposedly unwilling to better their initial offer of £50 million for Alderweireld, with Spurs valuing the defender closer to £70 million, and as a result it seems they have turned their primary focus onto landing the Slovakian international.

However, the move isn’t proving simple to complete, with reports from Gazetta dello Sport suggesting that a bid of £60 million has been rejected by the Italian giants. And it looks as though the deal will drag on further, meaning Spurs fans will have to wait to see if they’re in the clear over their star defender.

Mauricio Pochettino for one will be hoping United land the 23-year-old this window, but they will likely face competition from the likes of Liverpool, Manchester City and Barcelona now they’ve acted on initial interest.

Photo: Getty Images

Skriniar has drawn attention from European giants for his performances last term – after arriving from Sampdoria in 2016 – playing a vital part in an outfit that secured a fourth place finish in Serie A in 2017/18 – bagging four goals in 40 appearances. And the Nerazzurri don’t look as though they’ll be able to tie him down for the foreseeable future.

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