In Saturday’s 4-0 win over Norwich City at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford made history by becoming the fourth youngest player to reach 200 appearances in the red shirt of Manchester United, beating the likes of Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. This landmark day for Rashford was made even sweeter for the young striker as his two goals, coming just before and after half-time, set the Reds up for a comfortable victory.
Rashford, who is showing no signs of stopping when hunting down even more achievements, will have been no doubt frustrated that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer substituted him before the half-hour mark, denying him a good chance to claim the match ball. In fact, it will frustrate Rashford even more knowing that he has now scored a brace in a United match nine times, but is yet to score a hat-trick for the club.
Hopefully, before the season ends he will come away with three goals in a game and if it were to be in a Premier League game, he would be the first United player to score a league hat-trick since Robin van Persie against Aston Villa in 2013. Scoring one in any competition would also be quite an achievement, as no United player has done that in nearly three years, since Zlatan Ibrahimović’s treble against Saint-Etienne in the UEFA Europa League in 2017.
Rashford has played with top class strikers in Ibrahimović and Rooney, all be it for a short amount of time and even has spent time with van Persie recently discussing his best position on the pitch, looking at how his shot style is similar to that of Ronaldo’s and what his future ambitions are.
“I definitely want to win the Champions League and the Premier League with United. When I was growing up you see them winning these and it became normal.”
Rashford has learnt his trade from both watching and playing with these players in the biggest competitions and now he is looking to take some of their goal scoring records. No United player has scored 30 goals in a season since van Persie’s title winning haul in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final season and while Ibrahimović came close with his 28 in Jose Mourinho’s debut season, no United player other than Romelu Lukaku has scored even more than 20 since then. Rashford currently sits on 19 after his double against Norwich so looks set to hit 30 with a little less than half of the season to go.
As for Rooney, chasing his overall goal tally for the club of 253 will surely be the ultimate aim for Rashford if he is to stay at the club over the next decade. After 200 matches he is on 64 goals, but with his numbers rapidly improving this season there is a serious chance when he hits his peak around the age of 26 or 27, he could be a century of goals away. Rooney in early last year called Rashford a ‘fantastic striker’ but did give some advice on working on his heading ability, something Rooney mastered especially in the 2009/2010 season.
“He has got a bit of everything, he is quick, he is strong, the only thing he could probably work on is his heading.”
After scoring with his head against Newcastle United on boxing day recently and being unfortunate not to score with one against Aston Villa at the start of December, perhaps Rashford has taken the advice on board.
As of now he lies in 16th on the list of United’s all-time top scorers and his next target may be to break into the top 10, which he needs 24 more to do, passing Mark Hughes. When he hits 100 goals for the club, he’ll have Ronaldo’s tally in his sights. However, that won’t be the only list Rashford will be looking to join the Portuguese superstar on.
With Rashford’s form this season being so impressive in a rather poor United side, he could be a serious contender for the PFA Young Player of the Year award. He was nominated for the honour in 2018/19 but this time you feel he will be a front runner. He’ll face competition from the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Maddison and Tammy Abraham but if Rashford was to come out on top he would be the first United player to win the award since Ronaldo in the 2006/07 season.
Overall, there is plenty for United’s number 10 to be looking forward to, with both goal tally’s and individual honours to target. There’s a big chance if Rashford achieves the milestones he will be looking to set himself over the next few years, it will result in his dream goal of winning the biggest trophies with United.
Written by Alex Metcalfe