Red Devils and England starlet was plagued by a back injury which turned out to be a painful growth spurt
MARCUS RASHFORD was plagued by a secret back problem last season.
The Manchester United teen’s condition — caused by growing pains — got so bad he sometimes could not travel to games on the train.
And Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho kept Rashford’s ailment a secret amid fears defenders would target him.
SunSport can today reveal the striker’s problem — which he has fully recovered from — was caused by the fact he was still growing.
He was 5ft 11in when Mourinho arrived at the club last summer — but is now an inch taller.
It meant Mourinho had to leave Rashford, 19, out of some games that were going to be too physical.
He started just 16 league games last season, and only one of the last five, as Mourinho saved him for the Europa League run-in.
It was thought last March that Rashford had been left out of their FA Cup fixture against Chelsea as he did not board the train at Stockport with the rest of the team.
In fact, he was being flown down separately to restrict the time he would be sat still on a train, which could have affected his back problem.
Now Rashford is fully fit, Mourinho plans to use him as a more regular starter.
And the United boss believes fans will see the very best of him this campaign.
During United’s pre-season tour this summer Mourinho revealed how much Rashford had changed physically, even in the short time he had been manager.
Mourinho said: “Marcus is already taller than when I arrived 13 months ago. He’s three centimetres taller and has put some muscle on.”
But it was the growth in his height that was causing the back problems.
Rashford did have a downturn in form last season following the amazing impact he made in his debut campaign under Louis van Gaal.
But he has looked sharper, quicker and physically stronger in pre-season and shone in their 4-0 win against West Ham on the opening day.
And £75million striker Romelu Lukaku praised his new team-mate, who created his first goal on Sunday.
The Belgian, 24, said: “With me and Marcus, there’s something special. Hopefully we can produce even more.
“We clicked from the first day that I arrived and I knew he would help me settle in at the club.”
Rashford played on the left side of a three behind Lukaku at the weekend.
But Mourinho said in America that he could play the pair as strike partnership this season in a 3-5-2.
He certainly believes the England international has a big season ahead of him.
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Mourinho explained: “He’s a great professional and he has great attitude.
“Last season he wasn’t scoring goals and was missing a lot of chances, which was not a drama because that’s part of the evolution.
“But we know he’s going to score more than last season.”
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