Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has come a long way in 2016 from making his debut on the 25th February against Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League, scoring a brace on his European debut, then facing Arsenal only days later, scoring a brace on his Premier League debut. The 18-year-old, who turns 19 at the end of the month also scored on his England debut against Australia ahead of the European Championships this summer, also scoring on his England U21 debut against Norway, but that was a hat-trick. Rashford has become a star in a short period of time, looking better as each match ends, which suggests he is the player that Manchester United need now and into the future.
Under Jose Mourinho, Rashford has been used sparingly so far this season, which is something that currently works for the club with the attacking talent now at the club and the formation currently being utilised. United have Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who is the first choice to lead the line and Anthony Martial, Jesse Lingard, Memphis Depay and even Henrikh Mkhitaryan, although he has been on the sidelines through injury since the international break in September, used as wide-men to support the Swede. Rashford, predominantly a striker has spoken about wanting to play on the left and right of the main striker, also in the role behind, which is currently occupied by either Juan Mata or Wayne Rooney. Rashford has a lot to learn before he becomes the main mat at Manchester United, but the signs so far are looking good. Former Manchester United striker and treble winner Dwight Yorke, speaking exclusively to 888sport, spoke about Rashford and his similarities with Andy Cole, saying:
“Coley and Rashford are very similar. They like to run in on goal. Coley never liked to get involved in link-up play – although he was very good at it – and like all the world’s best strikers he liked to get in on goal. Rashford also has that knack. That allows Wayne Rooney – or myself – to get midfielders running backwards and pick a pass through. It’s always good to have that combination with one going long and the other short. Then you’re confusing defenders. Me and Rashford would have scored some goals and caused some problems believe me. The combination would have been good enough.
“He is still at the development stage. He has some good attributes but to say he is the finished article is just being naïve. He is already under enough scrutiny and pressure from playing for Manchester United. He still needs to develop some things like where to run and to do simple things sometimes. He is not the finished article but has all the attributes to be extremely good at what he does.
“He is playing wide as part of his development process. I started out left myself as a winger. There you get a feel of things and if you’re nineteen and in the team then you’re not going to complain. Eventually, he will end up as a centre forward and do his job even better than he is presently doing.”
Andy Cole made his £6 million (£7 million is you include the deal which saw Keith Gillespie move to Newcastle United) back in 1995. At the time, he was a stunning striker, scoring goals for fun. Whilst at Newcastle, who at the time were challenging Manchester United for the Premier League title, Cole scored 68 goals in 85 matches, which is a run that continued at United, scoring 121 goals in 275 appearances. Glory was something that was around Manchester United at that time, United dominated domestic football under Sir Alex Ferguson with Cole winning five Premier League titles, two FA Cups, two FA Charity Shields and one UEFA Champions League, part of the treble winning season in 1999. Cole was a striker who was deadly in front of goal, especially with his partner in crime, Dwight Yorke. If Marcus Rashford does turn out to be a striker in the mold of Cole, Manchester United will be set for the future. The lad has scored 12 goals in 27 appearances for the club so far, so the signs are there that he could well be the devastating forward United will need, working with Zlatan Ibrahimovic will hone his skills all the more, which will see many afraid to face Rashford in years to come.
Read the full 888sport interview with Dwight Yorke, including his thoughts that Rooney will win back his position at United