Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United and England striker, says his dramatic rise to stardom still does not seem real as he prepares for Euro 2016.
After only making his first-team debut in February, the 18-year-old went on to score eight goals for his club and won the FA Cup, earning himself a new four-year deal in the process.
Rashford’s rapid ascent was then capped by a call-up to England’s preliminary squad for the Euros and a goal within three minutes of his debut against Australia sealed his place on the plane to France.
But prior to making his breakthrough, Rashford was yet to become fully established with the United Under-21 team and had been a loan target for Crewe Alexandra, who went on to be relegated from League One.
“I’m very happy to be here,” he told FATV. “I think it’s a good way to end the season for me and hopefully we get some joy in the tournament.
“It doesn’t seem real, when you look back at it. At Christmas I was actually trying to work my way into the Under-21 side and all of a sudden I appeared in the first team. You have to be ready when your chance comes.
“To be honest, I wasn’t really thinking about the England set-up as much because obviously at United there was a lot of games coming thick and fast so all of my focus was on those games.
“At the end of the season you hear talk and stuff, but to be here now is just amazing. For it to be in my hands to go out and help the country is an amazing feeling.”
Rashford gave his interview alongside United and England captain Rooney, who urged the starlet to play without feeling the pressure of a major tournament.
Rooney said: “I always think that, for young lads, it’s probably better to leave them and not fill them with advice, ‘You should do this, you should do that’.
“Just let them go and play because that’s what’s got them to the position they’re in today.”