Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says that forward Marcus Rashford progress this season is pleasing even in the face of what the Portuguese has described as unrealistic expectations.
Rashford, 20, has scored 11 times in 40 appearances.
This meant that the forward has already equalled his tally of goals for the last term, which came in 52 games, and seems certain to continue to improve his season-by-season tally after eight in 18 appearances in his debut campaign of 2015-16.
Mourinho had previously stated that this season would feature a step-change in performance from Rashford following what can often be a challenging second season in the first team.
“At his age, what he’s doing is more than enough and the experience he’s getting at every level is more than enough for us to be happy with what we think is going to be his future. It’s as simple as that.”
“But because he had such an impact at the beginning, probably people expect him to play even more than he does, and score even more than he does and perform even more than what he does but it is not so simple. What I see makes me really happy, to see the same boy.”
Mourinho also claimed that he believes Rashford’s prospects of selection by England for Russia 2018 will be unaffected by not being a regular, although he also would not offer the youngster any assurances regarding his status.
“It’s up to Gareth Southgate,” the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager added. “If he trusts him, he selects him. It doesn’t matter if he plays or if he doesn’t play for Manchester United.”
“No, I don’t reassure anyone. The main reassurance is that he is always selected. There is not one single match when Marcus is not selected to start or to be on the bench.”
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic expected to leave United in the summer, Rashford may be offered more game time as a stand-in to Romelu Lukaku at centre-forward.