Rashford was dropped for Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford, with his replacement on the right wing, Antony, impressing. Rashford prefers to operate as a wide left forward but Alejandro Garnacho is performing well there, his cross creating McTominay’s winner against Chelsea. In 19 appearances this season Rashford has scored twice and made four assists.
Ten Hag addressed how difficult it could be for Rashford to regain a place by pointing to how the previously out-of-favour McTominay and Maguire had won “internal competition” to be selected. Rashford is a doubt for Saturday’s game at home to Bournemouth after missing training on Friday owing to illness
“[It’s] what I said about Scott McTominay and Harry Maguire: up to them,” Ten Hag said. “The team will always line themselves up and the best players who form the best team will play. So Rashford is an incredibly good player. You can’t do it with 11 players – he can’t play every game. He’s not in this moment the form he was last year but I am sure he will get there.”
McTominay scored United’s goals against Chelsea and is the top scorer with six, and Maguire’s resurgent form led to him being voted November’s Premier League player of the month. Ten Hag was voted the manager of the month and Garnacho earned the goal of the month award for his overhead volley in the 3-0 win at Everton.
Of McTominay’s goal count, Ten Hag said: “From the first moment I saw [him] I could see he has a very good smell to make it in the box and is a very good finisher. So that is not a surprise: when the team gets the ball to them he will finish.”
A win for United would draw them level on points with Manchester City, who are at Luton on Sunday. Ten Hag said: “We know where we are going. We had our setbacks, especially at the start of the season. Things went against us with injuries, decisions and sometimes you find yourselves in such a place.
“You [then] see the character of the team. We’re in a better place, better form. The performances are increasing, we are performing as a team and as individuals. But you have to be sharp in every game. This league is very competitive and you see it in results this week. Everyone kills everyone.”