Marcus Rashford expects he and his teammates can learn a lot from Zlatan Ibrahimovic even if the Swede’s arrival might limit his own first-team opportunities at Manchester United.
Rashford burst onto the scene last season, with the 18-year-old emerging from the youth ranks to earn a place in the first XI and an unexpected trip to Euro 2016.
But new United boss Jose Mourinho has strengthened his hand with the signing of Ibrahimovic, who scored with a bicycle kick four minutes into his first appearance against Galatasaray on Saturday, leaving Rashford to scrap for game time.
Time will tell how that works out, and the teenager believes simply sharing a dressing room with someone of Ibrahimovic’s stature will help him advance.
“We can definitely all learn from him while he is here, so we all need to take that chance,” Rashford told MUTV.
“It’s a massive help to be with him every day and it’s great to see what he is like on and off the pitch. There is a lot to learn from him and hopefully I can bring some of his game into mine.”
Rashford’s rise might have come at a dizzying pace earlier this year, but he is happy to slow things down again – and possibly take a back seat – as he looks to establish himself in the Old Trafford set-up.
“I’m preparing for the new season now,” he said. “There’s no need to rush into anything – I’m taking my time, taking it steady.”
Mourinho has spoken of his concern at United’s readiness for the new season, due to the number of players given extended breaks following Euro 2016 and the unsatisfactory nature of their tour to China, where a match against Manchester City was cancelled due to poor conditions.
But Rashford is looking ahead with excitement after a full-strength United side – in terms of personnel if not fitness – came from 2-1 down to see off their Turkish opponents.
“It’s really important to get that first win together as a group, it’s great for us in the build-up to the season,” Rashford said.
“The manager wasn’t concerned (about being 2-1 behind at half-time) and just told us to push and close the space, something we did really well in the second half.
“There’s a lot of optimism, as that is only our second pre-season game as a full squad – it was the first game for some players.
“It is very exciting for both fans and players.”