Explosive Beginnings of a True Red Devil
A Red Devil from the age of seven, then the 18-year-old England youth international’s name was a rather obscure one in the top echelons of the English game although increasingly high-pitched whispers of a highly-talented boy emerging through the club’s ranks were starting to spread loud and clear.
Still, it wasn’t until the warm-up injury of striker Anthony Martial in a Europa League match that young and exciting Marcus Rashford was given a chance to strut his stuff at the biggest stage.
The youngster was not caught off guard and did not back down under pressure as he went on to score an international brace in his debut match. What is more, he went on to replicate the feat in his first-ever Premier League match against Arsenal not too long afterwards.
The miracle boy went on to dazzle by scoring in his every first.
A goal in his first League Cup game, another one on his England debut and – perhaps most importantly from the emotional perspective of this young Manchester United fan – a goal in his first-ever Manchester derby match.
He struggled with the experienced Martin Demichelis at first as the Argentine defender nicked the ball off him on a couple of decisive occasions, but Rashford’s fledging appearance offered a clear insight into the boy’s football intelligence that would go on to make a name for Marcus Rashford and make him one of the hottest commodities in English football that he is today.
Rashford knew exactly what he needed to do the next time he got the ball to go past his more experienced marker and did it to slot the ball in the back of Joe Hart’s net. It was the highlight moment of the player whose heart beats in the Manchester United’s rhythm and a confirmation of an emerging talent.
What Rashford displayed in his first Manchester derby appearance was more than a goal however, since the 18-year-old boy gave a lesson to his much older teammates what a true Red Devil is.
He fought brave – at a point fought literally when an on-pitch tussle emerged – he stood up to his foes and refused to back down without giving his best try.
And that is exactly a Manchester United the fans of this club remember and yearn for.
The kind of a club that was once again on display against Chelsea in the mouth-watering clash played on Sunday at Old Trafford when Marcus Rashford restarted his career is style after a frustrated spell which saw him play second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic for the total of 14 starts in the Premier League season.
The 19-year-old striker was a surprise inclusion in the starting line-up as Jose Mourinho decided to rest the powerful Swede and seemingly disguise his intentions for Antonio Conte, but such a decision – together with his overall tactical masterpiece – brought result after only seven minutes.
Not only did Rashford merited his starting berth with an early goal but the young Manchester United also put in a close-to-perfect display. The England international ran across the lines in the attack, tormenting the Chelsea backline with the help of his good pal Jesse Lingard, whereas the 19-year-old forward took great part in defensive duties as well.
His organisational skills emerged as an important aspect of his game as well, as Marcus Rashford was a danger from inside the midfield and across the flanks too, whereas it was thanks to his set-pieces that United created a number of opportunities and ultimately scored their second goal in the match.
An early goal gave Marcus Rashford confidence, composure and stability – all traits of a world-class striker which in the case of young Manchester United striker come so naturally.
Marcus Rashford is the epitome of the Manchester United character and an example for arguably the biggest club in the world in financial and economic terms to follow in order to get back to good-old Fergie’s days when wins and trophies were implied and when rivals trembled by the very mention of the club’s name.
With 22 games without defeat under their belt, Mourinho’s Red Devils are beginning to summon the winners’ DNA back to the surface and with all the quality Portuguese tactician has at disposal it is only a matter of time before United exploded.
And as for Marcus Rashford, he will be there to ride the wave and lead his team forward into the new era.
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