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Player Profile: Marcus Rashford’s remarkable rise to prominence rediscovered

Marcus Rashford’s rise to prominence has made him a household name in world football despite being just 19 years of age. Due to his excellent work ethic, commitment to football, and love for Manchester United, though, it is easy to suggest that we haven’t even begin to see Rashford’s true potential, which, since he was very young, has been sky high.

Grassroots Football in Manchester

Born and raised in Wythenshawe, Manchester, Rashford played his grassroots football with Fletcher Moss Rangers from the age of five. Just two years later, though, he would join Manchester United’s academy, beginning a decade-long spell in United’s youth ranks that would see him fall in love with the club.

Rashford became the main man in United’s U18 setup after playing an important role in the side’s Milk Cup triumph, and he went on to become the U18 captain, scoring 13 goals in 27 appearances for the side in 2014/15. Known for having every important asset of a top striker in the academy, Rashford wasn’t quite the goal-scoring menace of James Wilson, but he offered a different asset entirely to his game.

“One we saw starting to emerge as he grew into his body more was Marcus Rashford. He put some exciting parts of games together and we saw some exciting things. He’s emerging and starting to do more.” – Paul McGuinness, Rashford’s U18 coach

The Surprise Debut

But when a massive injury crisis wiped out the majority of United’s senior and U21 squad, it only took one pre-match injury to Martial before Rashford made the jump to the first team at just eighteen years of age, despite only playing eight U21 Premier League matches in his life. Rashford was very young for a Manchester United debut, a mark of his ability and determination at such a young age, but had you watched the game that night, you wouldn’t have known.

It was on this day that Marcus Rashford became known for taking his chances, not only in front of goal but at Manchester United. Rashford’s appetite for goal finally manifested itself as the striker buried a brace to carry United through an important Europa League comeback. With frightening pace in behind, excellent movement in the box and clinical finishing, Rashford impressed even his biggest fans on that Thursday night against FC Midtjylland, going on to score another brace against Arsenal that weekend on his Premier League debut.

Senior Team

Going on to make nineteen appearances under van Gaal, Rashford scored another four goals to cap off a decent tally of eight in nineteen, especially considering it was his first campaign in domestic football. He has now become an important part of Jose Mourinho’s United squad, because, while the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Mourinho’s tendency to prefer proven quantities over youth players put Rashford’s season into doubt, he impressed immediately and went on to make 52 appearances in a campaign where he will have learned a lot. Signing his new four-year Manchester United contract at the end of the 2015/16 season, Rashford explained exactly why this experience has been so important for him.

“I am delighted. I have always been a United fan, so to be playing in the first team really is a dream come true. I am grateful for having the chance to prove myself. To be able to play football at the biggest club in the world means everything to me and my family.”

There continue to be doubts about Rashford, with the signing of Romelu Lukaku to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic in United’s attack. However, considering Ibrahimovic’s injury, Mourinho seemed to finally discover the threats Rashford can pose as a striker, instead of out wide. For this reason, it’s easy to suggest he’ll be an even more important part of the first team next season, used as a tactical threat by Mourinho and continuing his spectacular development in a Manchester United shirt.

Written by Aaron Moniz

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