Marcus Rashford is getting the right praise to continue his rise to fame

Marcus Rashford scored the winning goal for England in their 2-1 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Slovakia on Monday evening. The player did well in the match despite being at fault for Slovakia’s opening goal inside three minutes with Rashford tracking back to cover for Kyle Walker, who was out of position, him not being blamed for that but Rashford being blamed for helping to concede the goal. United equalised through Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Eric Dier with Rashford getting the assist from a corner, scoring the winner in the 59th minute of the match. England manager Gareth Southgate praised Rashford for his “huge impact” in his comments after the match.

Manchester United teammate Phil Jones praised Rashford, suggesting that he will become a “world beater” for the Old Trafford club with the 19-year-old off to a great start this season. In the three matches United have played in the Premier League this season, all victories, Rashford has played in all three, starting in the 4-0 victories over West Ham United and Swansea City, coming off the bench in the 2-0 victory over Leicester City. The England international has scored once (Leicester City) and assisted another goal (West Ham United) also adding the assist and goal for England against Slovakia. Jones feels Rashford has only just scratched the surface of his potential. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Jones said:

“He’s a great lad off the pitch and, on it, he’s a special talent. He’s already special but he’ll be a world-beater one day, he’s that good.

“He’s so quick, sharp, technically gifted, two-footed and a nightmare for defenders. You’ve seen it this season already, he’s given defenders nightmares.

“He’s an academy product and players from the youth system have done great over the last few years. He’s a special player and we’re lucky to have him.”

Class of 92 graduate and former England international Phil Neville also praised Rashford after Monday’s World Cup qualifier victory over Slovakia which sees England only points away from confirming their place in the FIFA World Cup in Russia next summer. Neville, also a former coach for United in the David Moyes season, and post-Moyes departure with Ryan Giggs leading the club alongside Neville and Paul Scholes. Neville, speaking to Sky Sports spoke about Rashford and how nothing fazed him, saying:

“I think we saw what Rashford is all about and his unbelievable temperament in showing that nothing really fazes him. After criticism of the performance in Malta and then what was probably Rashford’s mistake in trying to run the ball out of defence for Slovakia’s opener, he responded by showing he is made for the big stage.”

Neville also spoke about Rashford’s start to the season and that he seems to have goals on his mind, scoring one for United, also an assist, plus the same for England one month into the new season. The former United player also spoke about the position Rashford has been playing, predominantly on the wing, which is where he fits in at this moment in time whilst he is developing as a player. Some question why the player is put on the wing, Neville offers his opinion comparing it with Thierry Henry, who played on the wing in the early days  of his career, saying:

“This season he’s looked like he’s got goals on his mind, having more shots than before, and he has become stronger and faster. I think we’ve got an absolute star on our hands.

“People are questioning his position, whether he should be playing on the left or the right, but I don’t think it matters one bit just as long as he is playing.

“I played against Thierry Henry when he was on the left and that didn’t stop his development. What it actually does is provide a bit more freedom and takes the pressure off a bit.”

Neville also stated that Rashford will end up as a centre-forward, the position he wants to play but has suggested himself that playing in the wide roles and behind a striker will see him learning much more to become that out-and-out striker he wants to be. Neville, concluding his comments on Rashford, said:

“Rashford will end up as a centre-forward but just getting minutes and experience is important. Playing in Europa League and FA Cup finals and for England is fantastic experience at that age.

“He’s already proven himself on the bigger stage and, as much as you don’t want to overhype young players, I think he’s perfectly poised to really step up at the World Cup.

“When you are talking about young players stepping up at major tournaments – Michael Owen in ’98, Wayne Rooney in ’04 – these players go to these tournaments and relish the opportunity to really announce themselves and I think Rashford can do that.”

Rashford seems to be in for a lot of praise at this moment in time with teammate Phil Jones suggesting he will be a world-beater, former Red Phil Neville suggesting that his development is going just fine, but the pinnacle of the praise comes from Ruud van Nistelrooy, a player who scored 150 goals in 219 appearances for United, scoring a total of 347 goals in 589 club appearances during his highly decorated career as a player. Van Nistelrooy made his return to Old Trafford this weekend in the legends match against Barcelona, scoring in the 2-2 draw which saw United win 5-3 over the two legs this summer. The Dutchman, reported by The Express, said:

“As a striker, of course, you depend on service, and now there’s a team that can create chances and can get you balls in the box as well, gets passes in, they can make your runs and get crosses in and that helps a lot.

“Looking back on what Marcus Rashford came into he’s done spectacularly well, as a young lad coming in to a team that didn’t score that many goals.

“He’s done brilliantly, so I think the development he’s gone through means he will only get better now.

“There’s creativity there, there’s passes there, there’s players who can move, who can finish.

“The full-backs are joining in, putting in the crosses as well, there’s a very strong block in the centre of the midfield and in the back, a strong goalkeeper so it’s a very complete squad at the moment.

“It was great to see United back winning the big trophies last year, and now they have built on a better squad and hopefully this year the football will join the trophies.”

It seems that Rashford is a player many have high hopes for, all for a good reason too. The player is not the flop than many a United supporter said he was, he is an exciting player who is willing to do what it takes to make his rise to fame come apparent during his career. Rashford is a long way from the finished article, but what he has done so far in his career has shown just what he is capable of. He fears nobody, which for a 19-year-old is great.

With praise coming from Jones, Neville and Van Nistelrooy, it really will show the player that he is doing the right things on his rise to stardom. Rashford will be a player that we hear more of and see more from this season with Jose Mourinho looking to get the best out of the teenager, fitting him into the squad with Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial and Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he returns from injury later this year if the reports are correct – Mourinho has previously suggested January but the player has been included in the clubs UEFA Champions League squad for the group stages of the competition.

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