Since bursting on to the scene with back to back braces in his Europa League and Premier League debuts, Marcus Rashford has firmly established himself as one of the first names on the Manchester United team sheet. The Wythenshawe-born attacker enjoyed a mystifying start to his career, scoring on his Europa League, Premier League, Champions League, International and League Cup debuts. But despite the blistering start to his senior career, recently there have been worries that he might have stalled in his progress and sections of the fan base have become divided over whether he has the potential to become a world-class attacker or whether he is just “Welbeck 2.0”. The fact that anyone would even just think the latter is absolutely absurd, and here’s my take on why.
At just 22 years old, Marcus has been a mainstay under the three managers that have coached the team since his debut. Despite being lower down the pecking order than Ashley Fletcher, an injury to Will Keane meant Rashford made the bench for the second leg of the Europa League clash with Midtjylland (United were 2-1 down from the first leg I should mention) and then a further injury to Martial during the warm-up meant he was forced into the starting eleven. United went on to win the game 5-1, with the young striker scoring the first and second goals of his United career. The club haven’t looked back since.
Whilst he has played across a variety of attacking positions in his four years of senior football, it’s hard to disagree that Marcus is best deployed as a wide-forward on the left-hand side, where his pace and ability to beat a man make him a defender’s worst nightmare, something that has seen him return 11 goal contributions in his last 10 appearances for club and country. Most fans have been aware of the almost limitless potential Rashford has, but maybe now everyone else is starting to understand.
To put things into perspective, Marcus currently has 54 goals in 187 games for United, whilst at the same point a certain Cristiano Ronaldo had only managed 49 despite playing in a vastly superior side under arguably the greatest manager to ever exist. Now whilst Rashford has a long, long way to go to ever be considered in the same bracket as Ronaldo, he’s certainly not got off to a bad start.
Further testament to his ability is that Louis van Gaal, a man who introduced the footballing world to the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Kluivert, Seedorf and Edgar Davids, once claimed that Marcus is “one of the most talented players” that he ever gave a debut to. Not bad company to be in.
So far, Rashford’s best return for a season is 13 goals in all competitions, but with the forward already sitting on 9 goals for this season you’d imagine this is the campaign where he’ll surpass that. Being from Wythenshawe myself, it’s fantastic to see a local boy do what he loves for the team he loves, and as a United fan, I am brimming with excitement to see just how good Marcus can become.