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Marcus Rashford is making his case to be Manchester United’s main man?

Marcus Rashford was another one of Manchester United’s promising academy graduates. He came onto the scene during a UEFA Europa League second leg clash against Danish champions, FC Midtjylland in February of 2016. United were down 3-2 on aggregate going into the second half; and 18-year-old Marcus Rashford, who was handed the start, decided to step onto the scene.

The headlines were made when Rashford bagged a brace in the second half to inspire a 6-3 win on aggregate to send United to the next round. His performance had a hint of Wayne Rooney’s European debut back in 2004 when Rooney scored a hat-trick against Fenerbahce. United fans were wild for their new golden boy. Fast forward three days later, Rashford made his Premier League debut against arch-rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Again, the teenager smashed a brace and recorded an assist for a fabulous 3-2 victory over Arsene Wenger’s Gunners. It seemed like a fairytale storyline. It did not end there though, about one month later it was the Manchester Derby at the Etihad stadium, a place where the Red Devils had not beaten their rivals in the league since Robin van Persie’s freekick in 2012. Martin Demichelis on the floor, Joe Hart staring at the ball in the back of the net, Rashford showing why Manchester is Red.

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Who could ever forget that marvellous derby debut goal by the ‘wonder kid.’ A very promising start in the 2015/2016 season, it seemed like Rashford was going to go on to score 20+ goals the next season. Sadly, this was not the case. With Louis van Gaal getting sacked and United bringing in the ‘special one’, Jose Mourinho, Rashford had to fight for his place in the team. Mourinho did not put his trust in an 18-year-old boy leading his team.

He opted to bring in Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Rashford would be on the bench. He made 32 appearances in the league that season with only 16 starts and only found the net five times. Ibrahimovic left the following season to the Los Angeles Galaxy but this did not help out Rashford. United brought in Romelu Lukaku to lead the front line and again Rashford made 35 appearances Premier League appearances but only 17 starts. He also only netted seven Premier League Goals in the 2017/18 season.

With the 2018 season going underway, circumstances still did not favour Rashford. With Lukaku being established as the main striker under Mourinho, Rashford was pushed out to the wing and having to compete for the starting position with fellow teammate Anthony Martial. Confidence was low on Rashford, taking him six games to score his first goal of the season. In spite of that; even with the whole Mourinho situation, Rashford played with passion and had a great attitude every time he stepped onto the pitch.

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Eventually, Jose Mourinho left the club and with an out of form and injured Lukaku, newly appointed interim manager, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, put his trust into Rashford. In the past two months, Rashford has netted five times in seven games. His eye for goal has seemed to be boosted and Rashford is looking more and more world-class every game. The brilliant runs he makes, his shot power, passion, finishing, and creativity has put him back in the spotlight.

Solskjaer’s trust in Rashford has put confidence back into him, describing Rashford as a player with Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney’s ability. The question remains: Should Manchester United make Marcus Rashford their main striker? The answer is yes. Being 21 years old, Rashford has plenty of time to grow. He has more goals at the age of 21 than Ronaldo at that age. Obviously, he is not on the level of great United strikers like Ruud van Nistelrooy, Van Persie, or Rooney…yet.

Rashford’s technical ability, vision, pace, and shooting give him so much potential to become one of the greatest strikers of not just Manchester United, but of this generation and maybe even history. He has worked hard to win his spot over Romelu Lukaku and if Rashford can stay healthy and consistent, he could serve as United’s main striker for the next decade. A perfect start to his career that plateaued in the past few years, maybe this will be Marcus Rashford’s time to live up to his potential.

Written by Sean Lee

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