Manchester United are back in business after 10 wins out of 11 under interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. The former Red Devil has changed the mood around Manchester United, bringing back smiles in the faces of the fans and helping reinstall confidence inside the players after months of moaning and groaning under Jose Mourinho.
Players such as Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic and Marcus Rashford have found their feet again, with Pogba in red-hot form at the moment. Marcus Rashford has been a top dog under Solskjaer, leading United’s attack, playing with a different verve and most importantly, scoring goals.
The England international’s winner against Leicester City was his sixth under the Norwegian and another vital goal as the Reds hunt down a place in the top four of the Premier League. However, Rashford’s rise has left fellow striker Romelu Lukaku on the sidelines, with the Belgian now back-up to United’s No.10.
The £200,000-a-week star has also benefitted from Solskjaer’s appointment as far as the form is concerned, rediscovering his scoring mojo and providing two assists in the 3-1 victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup last month.
But while the Belgian’s form has improved, his playing time has dropped. Playing second-fiddle to Rashford has certainly been a tough pill to swallow for Romelu Lukaku, who made the big-money switch from Everton in the summer of 2017. The 25-year-old enjoyed four prolific years at Everton, scoring 87 goals in just over 160 appearances, with 25 in his final season at Goodison Park.
That saw him get plucked away by Mourinho in 2017 and after a solid debut campaign at Old Trafford, where he scored 27 times across all competitions, Lukaku has struggled to replicate his form this term.
Mourinho, Solskjaer’s predecessor, stood loyally by Lukaku despite a drop in form and productivity during a season that eventually cost him his job. But Solskjaer has opted for a free-flowing, dynamic front three of Rashford, Martial and Lingard that has certainly left a big question mark over the Belgian’s future at the club.
At 25, Lukaku should be playing more and scoring regularly for club and country. He remains the focal point of the attack for Belgium but things have changed at club level since Solskjaer was appointed.
It will be understandable if Lukaku doesn’t accept an ‘impact substitute’ role for the remainder of the season. But that’s when Solskjaer must show faith in the Belgium top-scorer and persuade him to stay at the club if he makes his decision to leave.
Under Solskjaer, Lukaku has shown glimpses of his old self but needs to do more to oust Rashford as the team’s current No.9. The Belgian has everything in his locker to do that and it’s just a matter of time before he starts banging in goals left, right and centre for the Red Devils.
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