Marcus Rashford has carried the goalscoring burden at Manchester United this season, producing the best form of his career for Erik ten Hag’s side.
Rashford has bounced back from a difficult period with a prolific run of form in 2022/23, breaching the 30-goal barrier for the first time and re-cementing his status as one of the Premier League’s most exciting forwards.
It is just the eighth time a Manchester United player has reached 30 goals in all competitions since the turn of the century and Rashford has joined some illustrious company.
We remember the eight times a Manchester United player has netted 30 goals in a season this century.
Ruud van Nistelrooy – 36 goals (2001/02)
Worth the wait.
Manchester United’s move for Ruud van Nistelrooy was delayed a year after the forward suffered a serious knee injury at PSV Eindhoven, but the forward made an immediate impact after completing his transfer to the Premier League in 2001.
Van Nistelrooy had twice finished as the Eredivisie’s leading goalscorer during a prolific period at PSV and continued in the same vein in English football. He marked his debut with a brace against Fulham and continued to fire throughout the course of the campaign.
Classic @RvN1776! 👏
It would be Ruud not to show this goal from our 3-0 win at Stamford Bridge in 2002! 😉 pic.twitter.com/t8IwajsBoN
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) October 18, 2018
The Dutchman scored 23 league goals – including a then-record eight consecutive league games scored in – to finish as runner-up for the Premier League’s Golden Boot and added 10 more in Europe to end as the Champions League’s leading scorer.
His impressive first season in English football saw Van Nistelrooy score 36 goals in 49 appearances and he was recognised with the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and PFA Fans’ Player of the Year awards.
Ruud van Nistelrooy – 44 goals (2002/03)
Van Nistelrooy was back and even better the following season to become just the second player, at that time, to score 40+ goals in all competitions for a Premier League team in a single season.
Van Nistelrooy finished as the Premier League’s top scorer with 25 goals to win the Golden Boot and was again excellent in Europe to lead the Champions League for goals (12).
His domestic return included hat-tricks against Newcastle, Fulham and Charlton, while he scored in each of United’s final eight games of the season as the Red Devils overhauled leaders Arsenal to win the Premier League title.
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 22, 2019
Van Nistelrooy’s 12 goals in the Champions League, scored in nine consecutive games, also set a then-record for goals in a single season of the competition in the modern era. Only Denis Law (46 – 1963/64) has ever scored for goals for Manchester United in a single campaign.
Ruud van Nistelrooy – 30 goals (2003/04)
Van Nistelrooy broke the 30-goal barrier for a third consecutive campaign in 2003/03, as the Dutchman scored 30 goals in 44 appearances in all competitions.
He began the season with back-to-back goals to set a new Premier League record of 10 consecutive games scored in, a record which stood until 2015 when Jamie Vardy netted in 11 straight appearances for Leicester.
United were unable to defend the title as Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ won the Premier League, but secured consolation in the form of the FA Cup. Van Nistelrooy scored twice in the 3-0 final victory over Millwall at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium.
Cristiano Ronaldo – 42 goals – (2007/08)
Cristiano Ronaldo produced a scintillating season to lead Manchester United to Premier League and Champions League success in 2007/08, a campaign which saw the forward emerge as arguably world football’s finest talent and win a maiden Ballon d’Or.
Ronaldo scored 31 league goals as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side beat Chelsea to the Premier League title, before the same opposition were defeated in the Champions League final. Ronaldo scored the opener in the Moscow decider, before United triumphed on penalties in the Russian capital.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 27, 2022
The Portugal international won the Premier League’s Golden Boot and the European Golden Shoe awards, alongside retaining the PFA Players’ Player of the Year and FWA Footballer of the Year accolades he had won for the first time the previous season.
Wayne Rooney – 34 goals (2009/10)
Ronaldo’s continued excellence led to predictable transfer interest from Spain and the pressure was on Wayne Rooney for goals heading into the 2009/10 season.
The exits of Ronaldo to Real Madrid and Carlos Tevez to Manchester City had added expectation to Rooney, who responded with the best goalscoring return of his career. Rooney began the season with a winner against Birmingham City and became a talismanic presence as the season progressed.
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 23, 2018
He scored the winner as Manchester United beat Aston Villa in the League Cup final and produced an outstanding performance to net a brace of headers in a Champions League win at AC Milan.
Rooney ended the campaign with 26 league goals and 34 in all competitions, a return which saw him awarded PFA Players’ Player of the Year and the FWA Footballer of the Year awards.
Iconic Performances: Peak Rooney sparkles in the San Siro
Wayne Rooney – 34 goals (2011/12)
Rooney matched his best-ever goalscoring campaign two seasons later as he hit 34 goals in 2011/12.
Rooney opened the season in prolific form and scored a hat-trick in United’s 8-2 win over Arsenal, before becoming only the fourth player in Premier League history, at that time, to score a hat-trick in consecutive games after another treble at Wigan.
His 27 league goals were the highest return of Rooney’s Premier League career, though he missed out on the Golden Boot to Arsenal’s Robin van Persie. United also ended the season without major silverware, as Manchester City snatched the title in dramatic fashion on the Premier League’s final day.
Robin van Persie – 30 goals (2012/13)
Robin van Persie signed for Manchester United in search of silverware and was the difference-maker as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side regained the Premier League title in 2011/12.
Van Persie had won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year, FWA Footballer of the Year and Golden Boot during his final season at Arsenal, before producing another incredible individual season after moving to Manchester.
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 10, 2019
Van Persie scored 26 league goals to win a second successive Golden Boot, including a hat-trick against Aston Villa as the Premier League title was secured at Old Trafford.
It was an instant impact from United’s marquee arrival, who became one of the most transformative signings in Premier League memory.
Marcus Rashford – 30 goals* (2022/23)
Marcus Rashford has joined an illustrious list of names after scoring 30 goals in 2022/23.
Rashford has become the first Manchester United player in a decade to reach that total, having recovered from a challenging period to produce the best football of his career to date.
The 25-year-old was exceptional after returning from an impressive World Cup in Qatar to lead United’s top four challenge, with a run of 17 goals in 19 appearances across all competitions, including one in the Carabao Cup final win over Newcastle.
Marcus Rashford has scored 30 goals for Man Utd this season pic.twitter.com/VZJUgPeN9f
— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 25, 2023
Rashford’s form has been recognised with three Premier League’s Player of the Month accolades, while he will hope to end the season with and another memorable moment as Erik ten Hag’s team take on Manchester City in the FA Cup final on June 3.