Three years after his debut, Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is one of the top young players in Europe.
February 2016, was a remarkable time in Rashford’s career, The 18-year-old who was studying for his A-levels got called up
to the first-team squad for a Europa League tie against Midtjylland, he told his mum not to bother turning up as he was almost sure he wouldn’t get a minute.
But Anthony Martial limped out of the warm-up handing Rashford his chance. He scored twice on the night, making him United’s youngest ever scorer in Europe, beating George Best’s record. Three days later he was at it again, putting Arsenal to the sword at Old Trafford by scoring the first two in a 3-2 victory. United’s third-youngest scorer in Premier League history.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said there was never anything fundamentally wrong with Rashford’s finishing ability. It was not a
technical flaw or a matter of maturity. After all, this is a player who scored with his first shot on his professional
debut, his first shot on his league debut and his first shot on his England debut.
In his very first season, he had the
best conversion rate of any Premier League player. “He has got far more than I did in terms of his physical attributes, his pace, his strength and his striking of the ball from outside the box. Marcus is only 21. He’s still learning.” – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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Former Manchester United coach, Louis van Gaal once highlighted Rashford’s ability to take criticism constructively as one of his best assets. It is an essential part of the learning process. But there are still limits.
Players currently aged 21 or younger, nobody has scored more Premier League goals than Rashford. He has more assists than
anyone else too. Gabriel Jesus is not too far behind but Rashford’s combined total of Premier League goals and assists
is twice that of any other young player around.
“This is a remarkable talent that is developing in our midst. He is on the right trajectory to become something really
special for Manchester United.” – Gary Neville
England National team Coach Gareth Southgate said: “One of the elements you are very aware of in all of those players is that they’re not fazed by anything that is thrown at them. That would seem to be what has happened so far with Marcus and I’m sure that could influence the path.”
For all the bumps in the road, the 20 games without a goal for club and country in his second season, and the tension with
Mourinho, It has been quite the three years, a period that has brought trophies and tournaments, with high expectations as Manchester United is set to give Marcus Rashford a lucrative six-year contract amidst attention from Barcelona and Madrid.
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