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The rise of Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford has been included in 100 of the last 102 Manchester United match day squads, including his debut. What is an already remarkable stat becomes even more insane when you consider the fact that Rashford is just 20 years of age. The boy from Wythenshawe has come a long way since his debut under Louis van Gaal in the Europa League. It was clear for United fans to see that this boy has talent, and can become a superstar one day. What if Anthony Martial never got injured in the warm-up against FC Midtjylland? Would we have ever seen Rashford?

Rashford already holds some impressive accolades to his name. For example, the goal he scored on his Manchester United debut against FC Midtjylland means he is the youngest ever scorer for Manchester United in European competitions, surpassing the previous holder George Best. He has scored on his Manchester United, Premier League, Europa League and England debuts. And I’m sure most United fans favourite goal would be his goal against Manchester City, also known as the end of Martin Demichelis’ career.

When Jose Mourinho was appointed Manchester United manager in 2016, many feared for the future of Rashford, after an impressive breakout season. The media spun its usual narrative of ‘Jose doesn’t like youth’ but the statistic I referenced at the start of this article contradicts that narrative completely. Mourinho has shown faith in young players such as Rashford but also Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay, and I think it also shows how Jose is trying to adapt to United’s tradition of bringing through youth players.

I believe Rashford deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Europe’s other top youngsters. I think he’s shown just as much promise as Ousmane Dembele or Kylian Mbappe. Will he lead England to World Cup glory? The odds are very unlikely but I think Rashford will be a top-class player one day. He seems to be very mature for a 20-year-old and appears as if he is eager to learn and improve all the time. Probably one of the main reasons why Rashford seems to have made it at United and why other top prospects such as James Wilson, haven’t (barring injuries).

Of course, it all could have been very different had Anthony Martial stayed fit during the warm-up. It’s worth noting as well, that the two match day squads that Rashford was not included in, was due to being rested, not injury, which should bode well for the future. The obvious concern for United fans is that we don’t want Rashford to burn out too early, similar to Wayne Rooney, although I would argue Rooney’s early career has had a greater impact than Rashford’s, both at a club level and an international level.

The hope for United fans is that Rashford becomes the player we all think he can be, and he stays at United for his entire career. He’s from Manchester, he’s been at the club since he was 7, and is still a massive United fan – it makes perfect sense. One thing is for certain though, his career so far has been nothing short of fantastic.

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