A day after scoring the winner against Manchester City last weekend, Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford posted a picture on Instagram of him training alone at Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, alongside the caption "Summer 22."
Rashford, 25, doesn't care much for the noise around him, but it was hard to escape the criticism he attracted last season. He scored just five times in 32 games in all competitions -- his lowest total since making his senior debut as a teenager nearly seven years ago -- as United slumped to their worst campaign for more than 30 years.
Fast forward a few months and Rashford -- and United -- are on the up. Erik ten Hag's team have lost one of their past 20 games and Rashford has scored eight in his past eight. The 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace on Wednesday was Rashford's first game without a goal since the 2022 World Cup, but it was his confident, almost nonchalant, pass that started the move that ended with Bruno Fernandes putting United ahead.
Despite the eventual slip-up at Selhurst Park, United fans will head to Premier League leaders Arsenal on Sunday knowing victory will throw them firmly into the title race. It was against Arsenal in February 2016 that Rashford scored twice on his Premier League debut -- just four days after scoring twice on his senior debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League -- but his career hasn't always followed the same upward trajectory.
Without a goal between January and the end of last season, then dropped by England for their Nations League games in June, Rashford used his time off in the summer to undergo a tailored training programme in the United States. Ten Hag, with his tactical nous and bold decision-making, is being credited as the catalyst for United's upturn in fortunes. But for Rashford, his turnaround began in Beaverton.
It focused on his fitness, but mainly on work with the ball, and sources have told ESPN it had such a big impact that coaches noticed a difference within 10 minutes of his first training session back at Carrington.