Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho.

Playing Marcus Rashford alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be a tactical win for Jose Mourinho

Published Add your comment

Manchester United are in the middle of yet another transitional phase, the third in the span of three years, after the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson.

New manager Jose Mourinho is expected to bring the historic club back into contention for the Premier League title, as well as Europe, and the Portuguese tactician has wasted no time in sealing the transfers of several key players.

One of those purchases is highly rated striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Paris Saint-Germain, who is expected to lead the line at Old Trafford.


Apply to become a GMS writer by signing up and submitting a 250-word test article:

Article continues below

According to the Sun, in a recent interview, Mourinho stated his plans of deploying the veteran striker alongside 18-year-old Marcus Rashford, who is almost half the age of the big Swede.

The former Chelsea boss is not known for installing two out-and-out strikers up front, as he prefers to use just a single target man in attack, as indicative of his time at Stamford Bridge and at Real Madrid.

Article continues below

However, one club where he did deploy two strikers successfully was at Inter Milan, guiding the Nerazzurri to a treble in 2010.

The unique combination of Ibrahimovic and Rashford would provide varied options in attack as both have very different styles which could play to United's advantage.

Different Qualities

Having won 13 league titles in the last 15 seasons with the likes of Ajax, Juventus, Inter, Barcelona and PSG, Ibrahimovic requires little introduction to even the most casual football viewer.

Now 34-years-old, the veteran striker believes he still has several years to go before thinking of retirement and has claimed that he is just getting started.

Sweden v Belgium - Group E: UEFA Euro 2016

In fact, it is hard to argue with that claim, as the serial league winner has been a regular fixture in the PSG team during his four years with the Ligue 1 champions. The talisman was the top scorer for the club last season with a staggering 50 goals in all competitions.

Known to have great technical and shooting ability, Ibrahimovic is the ideal target man. The Swede possesses great strength and is adept at holding up the ball against the strongest of defenders.

Rashford, on the other hand, brings to the table qualities that the former PSG man lacks, which are are great pace, energy, and dribbling abilities.

The young English forward burst onto the scene last season with crucial goals in wins against Manchester City and Arsenal, propelling the Red Devils starlet into the limelight.

Manchester United v A.F.C. Bournemouth - Premier League

Despite playing only a few minutes during the Euro 2016, the striker showed glimpses of his potential which is sure to provide a great deal of satisfaction and hope to United fans as well as Mourinho. 

Playing Rashford alongside the legendary Ibrahimovic will provide flexibility and dynamism up front, not only in terms of ability but also experience. Furthermore, the 18-year-old will have the opportunity to learn from one of the best strikers of his generation. 

The pace and acceleration provided by the young England international would compensate for the Swede's lack of speed, allowing more time and space for Ibrahimovic to express his impressive technical ability. 

Possible Formation

Mourinho might have provided a hint regarding his preferred formation at Old Trafford when he indicated his desire to deploy the above two strikers up front. 

Manchester United Officially Introduce Jose Mourinho as Their New Manager

The two-time Champions League winner's preferred shape at Inter was the 4-1-2-1-2, something he might very well adopt with the Red Devils. 

In such a formation, Ibrahimovic and Rashford slot in comfortably in the two striking positions, with the acquisition of former Borussia Dortmund playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan, being the ideal candidate to take up the number 10 position behind the two strikers, in a similar fashion to Wesley Sneijder during his time at Inter under the Portuguese manager. 

At the San Siro, Mourinho successfully deployed two forwards, switching between Diego Milito, Samuel Eto'o, and Mario Balotelli. 

The 53-year-old is, therefore, expected to fruitfully implement the same tactics at United. 

Anthony Martial

Manchester United v Crystal Palace - The Emirates FA Cup Final

Mourinho's early comments regarding his preferred striker partnership begs one question. Where does Anthony Martial fit into his plans?

The French forward was one of the better players for the Red Devils last season and has also shined at international level during his limited appearances for the Les Blues. 

Some would argue that the 20-year-old might be in a better position than Rashford. in terms of both experience and skill, to occupy one of the forward positions. Perhaps, the former Porto manager has a special role for the striker, as Mourinho is often known to do. 

It is highly unlikely that Martial would be shown the door as he has displayed the maturity and ability to play at the very top level. 

Manchester United Training and Press Conference

Therefore, the only two positions that he could possibly take up are the wings or a place on the bench. Keeping someone of the potential of Martial on the bench would be a waste of the Frenchman's ability. Hence, playing the former Monaco man as a wide player could be the most probable scenario in the Portuguese tactician's mind. 

The answers will be clear soon as United kick-off their pre-season in a few days time. 

Mourinho's first game in charge with the club will be against Wigan Athletic on July 16, followed by warm-up matches with Dortmund, Manchester City, and Galatasaray. 

Fans will be eagerly waiting to see the new look United side, especially with the influx of the latest transfers and the manager, who will be looking to get the team's shape together before the start of the 2016/2017 season. 

Can Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic become a lethal partnership? Let us know YOUR thoughts in the comment section below!

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE:

Wayne Rooney
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Premier League
David Beckham
Marcus Rashford
Paul Scholes
Manchester United
Ryan Giggs
Jose Mourinho

Article Comments

Report author of article

Please let us know if you believe this article is in violation of our editorial policy, please only report articles for one of the following reasons.

Report author


This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

Want more content like this?

Like our GiveMeSport Facebook Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to Facebook, don't ask me again

Follow GiveMeSport on Twitter and you will get this directly to you.

Already Following, don't ask me again

Like our GiveMeSport Page and you will get this directly to you.

Already Subscribed to G+, don't ask me again