Marcus Rashford reveals mental health key to improved form at Qatar World Cup – ‘You have to be happy’

Marcus Rashford has put his resurgence down to improved mental and physical health after he scored in England’s 6-2 demolition of Iran in the World Cup.

The 25-year-old has endured a few underwhelming years for Manchester United as the Premier League club have struggled under a succession of managers, and Rashford is yet to sign a new deal despite having less than a year – though with an extension that can be activated by the club – on his current deal.

However under new manager Erik ten Hag, Rashford has been resurgent at Old Trafford and has on occasion done well through the middle as Anthony Martial has suffered with injury and Cristiano Ronaldo has not been picked regularly by Ten Hag.

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With Ronaldo’s exit from the club confirmed there could be more opportunities for Rashford at United, and Harry Kane’s ankle injury might also see him get more minutes on the pitch in Qatar under Gareth Southgate.

This season, Rashford already has eight goals, which is already more than last season’s haul of five. After the European Championships last summer, Rashford announced he needed surgery on a shoulder injury, and he told ITV that his recent improvement came with reinvigorated mental health, which was aided by his return to full fitness.

“I think for me it was just about getting my own happiness right,” he said after the win over Iran.

“When I’m on the pitch and enjoy myself, I play good football. It’s more just within yourself, you have to be happy as a person.”

After the coronavirus pandemic which spurred on a campaign from Rashford to feed children in poverty, and then the European Championships that England were involved in until the final game, Rashford explained a break had helped him.

“It’s something I can change. Nobody else can change it for me. In the summer just gone, it helped me a little bit to switch off and spend time with friends and family,” he revealed.

“Mainly injuries, I’ve been playing the last two, three years with a lot of problems. I’ve not been enjoying it as much as I should have for a long time.

“It’s behind me now, it’s something that happened in the past, so I’m just looking forward now, we’re going to keep enjoying ourselves.”

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