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‘I want to see you smiling every day’ – Erik ten Hag reveals his pep talk with Marcus Rashford on his first day as Manchester United Manager

Erik ten Hag, Marcus Rashford

Erik ten Hag has revealed what he told Marcus Rashford on the first day after becoming Manchester United manager over the summer. England forward Rashford was among the United players who struggled last season and even wanted to leave Old Trafford as he lost his place in the side.

Speaking over the summer, Rashford made it clear that he was excited to work with Ten Hag, who left Ajax to become United’s fifth permanent manager since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement.

Rashford has enjoyed an impressive start to the season, scoring three goals and making two assists in six Premier League matches. Ten Hag is not surprised by Rashford’s superb comeback and says that he immediately identified him as a player with ‘potential’ when he arrived in Manchester.

“From day one I was so excited to work with him. I saw his status and I knew already the impact he could have and his potential. Now he’s bringing that potential to the pitch so I’m really happy with his development Ten Hag told Sky Sports ahead of Sunday’s Manchester derby.

“I told him on day one, I want to see you smiling every day. We said that we would prepare the training sessions and then it’s up to you to love the training and give your best because when you feel pressure in training and enjoy it you will give your best. If you give your best you will improve and you will perform on the pitch. Then life is easy and your performance will go up,” he added.

Rashford was left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad during the recent international break after suffering a minor injury setback for Manchester United.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference on Friday, Ten Hag confirmed Rashford has returned to training and could feature tomorrow against Manchester City.

Asked for an update on his squad ahead of United’s trip to the Etihad, Ten Hag said, “The situation is the following. Harry Maguire is injured and I think, for the rest, we have some doubts, with Anthony Martial, but he was training all week with the group.

‘So I am really happy with that situation, he’s performing really well in training and makes a good impression. Marcus Rashford has returned to training, so I’m also happy with that.”

“For the rest, maybe I think it’s only the longer-term injuries like Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams. They are not available,” he further said.

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