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RASHFORD NAMED SIR MATT BUSBY PLAYER OF THE YEAR

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Marcus Rashford has been named the winner of our Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award for 2022/23.It’s the first time the Academy graduate has claimed the prize, and rich reward for a stellar season that has produced a career-best 30 goals thus far. Fans from all over the world voted in their droves for the Wythenshawe-born forward, via both ManUtd.com and the United App. The accolade is also a proud moment for our Academy: Rashford is the first club-produced footballer to win the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award since Ryan Giggs in 1998.

Rashy has now done the double, after winning our Players’ Player of the Year award earlier in the evening.

While Rashford’s numbers alone speak volumes – in addition to the 30 goals, our no.10 has also provided 11 assists – they do not quite sum up the breadth of his achievement. Marcus headed into the current campaign – the first under new manager Erik ten Hag – after arguably the most challenging season of his career. His 2021/22 produced just five goals in 32 appearances, and the 24-year-old had not been selected for England since the agonising Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy. But Rashford returned for pre-season full of determination, and kickstarted the Ten Hag era by scoring a nerveless winner in our first success under the Dutchman: a 2-1 victory over the arch-enemy, Liverpool.That was just the start. He followed the Liverpool game up with two more in a pulsating 3-1 triumph over league leaders Arsenal, before further goals in the Europa League against Omonia Nicosia and Sheriff Tiraspol. There was a milestone 100th United goal in a tight 1-0 win over West Ham United in October – a barnstorming header, which the forward later admitted was the fruit of some long-term work on his ability in the air. Soon after, he left for Qatar as part of England’s squad for the World Cup. The tournament was a success for Rashford, who finished as his country’s joint top-scorer with three goals.

Upon his return to Manchester, Rashford hit upon a remarkable, rollercoaster run of form, scoring 10 goals in 10 matches. His winner in the dramatic Manchester derby against rivals City meant he had scored in nine successive games at Old Trafford, equalling a 64-year record set by Busby Babe Dennis Viollet. But for a debatable offside decision in our next home game, against Reading, Rashford would have gone beyond Viollet. The goals kept on coming. He was the Premier League’s Player of the Month for both January and February (having already won September’s award). February was also the month he scored our vital second in the 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final. Prior to the Chelsea game last Thursday, Rashford had also racked up an impressive 14 club Man of the Match awards across the season – twice as many as his nearest challengers (Bruno Fernandes, Casemiro). Marcus notched once more in that match against the Blues, becoming the first United player to hit 30 goals in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era and matching Robin van Persie’s title-driving tally from 2012/13.

Bruno Fernandes, two-time winner of the Sir Matt Busby award (2019/20, 2020/21) finished in second place, while Lisandro Martinez came in third. There was also strong support for Casemiro, four-time winner David De Gea and Luke Shaw. But Rashford’s raft of goals earned him a well-deserved victory. Well done, Marcus!

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