It is not often in a contemporary football world that a young football player shows such a great mentality, character and overall professional behaviour like Manchester United and England striker Marcus Rashford.
A tender 18-year-old boy has been thrown into the cruel vortex of the Premier League and top flight football at a delicate time of his physical and mental development, but Rashford’s conduct has been nothing short of impressive, from the first moment he stepped on the pitch in a senior competition.
Rashford’s stellar success goes hand in hand with his humility and modesty – the two traits that have become so uncommon among players of his age, who often get blinded by instant success before they crash into a wall of reality.
History Maker and Record Breaker
Marcus Rashford has gone about writing his name in history books right from the start of his professional career.
It was in November 2015 that he was included in Manchester United’s first-team for the first time in his career, but he had to wait for his competitive debut until February 2016 when he was a late addition to Europa League squad after Anthony Martial picked up an injury prior to Midtjyland game in the round of 32.
Marcus Rashford marked his debut with a brace in the second half of a 5-1 win, thus making an instant announcement by becoming Manchester United’s youngest ever scorer in European competitions by beating a record previously held by George Best.
Only three days after the Europa League match, Rashford made his footing in the Premier League by scoring twice and assisting once in a 3-2 home victory over Arsenal, thus becoming the third youngest scorer for United in Premier League history.
It did not take long before Marcus Rashford crushed another record by becoming the youngest ever scorer in a Manchester derby in the Premier League era as he bagged the only goal for his team in United’s first away win over City since 2012.
Record-breaker Rashford continued his goal scoring exploits at the international level as well. In May he started in a friendly match against Australia and scored an opening goal in a 2-1 victory, becoming the youngest Englishman to score on his international debut.
And finally, having been demoted from the senior squad and sent to help the U21 set-up in a European Championship 2017 qualifying clash against Norway, Marcus Rashford scored a hat-trick, continuing the positive trend of scoring on his debuts.
England’s Bright Future
Rashford was surprisingly left out by England new boss Sam Allardyce’s senior squad last week, but Big Sam should not be criticised over his decision despite the fact Rashford almost made a mockery of his U21 inclusion by demonstrating that he has clearly outgrown the youth level.
Three goals against Norway were a clear message to Allardyce, who was watching over the Young Lions from the stands in Colchester and a clear indication of the things to come.
England has no reason to be worried about the future with brilliant talent Marcus Rashford is. The 18-year-old boy has been turning heads from the moment he stepped on the brightest stage and it is only a matter of time when he will become a mainstay for both country and club.
In the meantime, he was given a chance to gain further experience and boost his morale by playing with his peers over the week. And while many players of his age and reputation would go on to feel disrespected by national team demotion, Rashford was widely praised for his professional conduct and enthusiasm he displays every step of the way.
Transition from coming on twice as a substitute during Euro 2016 to playing with the U21s can be a hard one to accept, but Marcus Rashford showed the right attitude and impressed with his great mentality.
Club’s Crown Jewel
Marcus Rashford returns to his club with boosted confidence that will help him get under Jose Mourinho’s nose ahead of the Manchester derby.
The teenager secured a 1-0 stoppage-time win at Hull City at the end of August and despite often being labelled as uneasy nurturer of young talent, Jose Mourinho is keen to give the 18-year-old striker all the chances in the world to help his development.
Portuguese tactician is well aware of Rashford’s talents and has already promised that the youngster will be given a lot of opportunities this season. First one is perhaps to come on Saturday when Manchester United will host Manchester City.
Red Devils are 5/4 to grab three points against Pep Guardiola’s side, and Marcus Rashford will be hoping to be involved.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic remains the first-choice striker for United though, but even the Swedish legend has not been immune to Rashford’s talents, going on to express his admiration for the youngster and stating that he will be happy to mentor the 18-year-old.
Wayne Rooney is the one who should be worried over his place in attack with Rashford putting a lot of pressure on Manchester United captain.
Jose Mourinho could even choose to make a compromise by pulling Rooney further back and pairing Ibrahimovic with his apprentice Rashford, which by many is seen as a possible winning combination for Manchester United.