It has not even been one year since Marcus Rashford first burst onto the senior-level scene with Manchester United, but he has already scored multiple crucial goals for the club, scored international goals, has boosted his wages from £1,500 a week to £25,000 a week and looks like he is the future of Manchester United’s attack.
Hardly famed for his development of youth, there were initial fears that the appointment of Jose Mourinho as United manager could stifle the upward trajectory that young Rashford, 18, has thus far been embarking on.
However, with Wayne Rooney’s decline and the short-term move of Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s acquisition, Mourinho is actually showing great faith in the player he believes Rashford will become.
Marcus Rashford is very much a product of modern football. He is a powerful striker of the football, possesses a burst of pace that can leave a defender in his wake and his versatility in attack means he is comfortable playing as a number nine or even a ten.
The hype Rashford generated in the second half of the 2015/16 season – from his two goals in three Europa League games to his five strikes in 11 Premier League outings – saw him swiftly called-up to Roy Hodgson’s national team where he responded by scoring just three minutes into his debut.
However, the fact that he did not make the final 23-man squad for the ill-fated Euro 2016 Championship run is perhaps a positive, as it is crucial that Rashford – a legitimate footballing prodigy – does not turn out to be a Mark 2 Theo Walcott.
Even United academy chief Nicky Butt speaks glowingly of Rashford’s “phenomenal potential” but warns of giving the player too much too soon: “He’s a young boy still learning the game. He has a long way to go.”
That phenomenal potential has always been there. According to legend, Rashford once scored 12 goals in ten minutes during one pre-teen youth game. That ability to find the net, regardless of level and standard of opposition, has never left him.
Footballtips.com reported recently that Rashford is consistently one of their top tips to score in any of Man Utd’s matches, which shows how much the betting world see Rashford as a constant goal threat and this will only continue to grow as he gets more games and develops as a player.
However, if there has been one concern over Rashford it is his slight physique – something that has, admittedly, been bulking out of late. His biceps are getting more pronounced and he is developing his ‘man strength’.
When Cristiano Ronaldo first joined Manchester United in 2003, he did so with a teenager’s body yet when he left, in 2009, to join Real Madrid, he did so with a well-toned gym freak’s physique.
If Rashford undergoes a similar transformation to go with his undeniable elite-level technical ability then he will likely go down as an all-time Old Trafford great.