sport news Is Marcus Rashford really the striker to lead back to the top?

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Marcus Rashford finally got what he always wanted this summer: the keys to the attack.

Since he burst onto the scene under Louis van Gaal in 2016, Rashford had not been a regular starter. He was playing second fiddle to Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and anyone else considered superior to the clearly talented, but still very raw, England youngster.

Rashford's status at the club changed this summer when Lukaku left for Inter Milan and he finally got the chance to be United's main man. But after just five games of the new season, doubts have already arisen over whether he can lead them back to the summit of English football.

Marcus Rashford is struggling to score the goals needed of Manchester United's main striker

Marcus Rashford is struggling to score the goals needed of 's main striker

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need more from Rashford if they are to finish in the top four

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will need more from Rashford if they are to finish in the top four

RASHFORD'S STATS SINCE AUGUST 2018 

Games played: 52

Goals: 16

Assists: 8

Mins per goal: 233.38

Shot conversion rate: 11.43

Total shots: 140

Shots on target: 59

Chances created: 53

Touches in opposition box: 232

Dribble success rate: 40.54

Games won: 26

* in all competitions 

United have had an underwhelming start to the season, winning just two of their opening five matches. Rashford has played all but five minutes of those games, managing three goals and one assist and it is that inconsistency that leaves doubts over his ability.

Since the start of the 2018/19 Premier League campaign, Rashford has scored 13 goals in 38 appearances, which gives him a minutes per goal ratio of 214. When comparing that to the rest of the top flight's leading strikers, it is worryingly high.

To make things worse, just across Manchester, the ruthless Sergio Aguero is the standard-bearer. The Argentine has made the same number of appearances in the top flight as Rashford since August 2018 but has managed a goal every 101 minutes. 

Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah has one every 142, despite playing five more times. Arsenal's Pierre Emerick- (124), Harry Kane (143) and Chelsea starlet Tammy Abraham (114) have all proven to be more reliable in front of goal than Rashford.

It is true that Rashford has too often found himself swapping between the central striker role and the wide forward position but Sadio Mane (132), Raheem Sterling (146) and Son Heung-min (165) have shown that playing on the wing should not affect your productivity in front of goal.

Rashford scored the winner against Leicester from the penalty spot after being fouled

Rashford scored the winner against Leicester from the penalty spot after being fouled

However, he failed to contribute in United's build-up play as United just about held on for a win

However, he failed to contribute in United's build-up play as United just about held on for a win

PL STARS' MINUTES PER GOAL RATIO

Sergio Aguero - 101.29 

Divock Origi - 123.5

- 123.64 

Sadio Mane -  132.42

Mo Salah - 142.12

Gabriel Jesus - 143.38

Harry Kane - 143.6

Raheem Sterling - 146.64

Anthony Martial - 157.83

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Son Heung-min - 164.57

Alexandre Lacazette - 176.8 

Marcus Rashford - 214.38 

Many

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