Marcus Rashford has made a name for himself in recent seasons as one of the brightest young players in Europe. However, under Jose Mourinho, he has been deployed as a winger rather than as a striker where he had originally started out. This has frustrated many Manchester United fans and pundits who believe that he would do better playing up front. There have even been calls for him to go out on loan and get some valuable experience at another Premier League club. However, that is unlikely to happen with Rashford having become such a key player on the wing, scoring four goals and getting five assists in all competitions so far this season. However, regardless of where he plays, his rise to being such a crucial member of the United team is an interesting one.
He joined Manchester United’s acdemy at seven years old, having played for Fletcher Moss Rangers for two years previously. At the age of sixteen, he was selected for a Youth Cup tie as the lone striker for the first time, having previously played as a number ten. He went onto nail down that position as he scored four goals in ten starts that season. He impressed all who were present and he became the key man for the u-18’s the following season when Demetri Mitchell got injured and scored 13 goals in 25 games. His set-piece prowess also became evident as he netted a free-kick against Tottenham.
His goals then earned himself a call-up to the u-21’s as well as a substitute appearance for the Reserve team. He scored his first goal for the u-21’s in a 6-1 victory against Leicester. HIs meteoric rise continued when he made his debut against Midtjylland in the Europa League in February of that season. He scored two goals in the game and manager at the time, Louis Van Gaal commented that he had so much energy and he was running too much in the first half of that game. He became the youngest ever player to score for Manchester United in a European competition. When he made his Premier League debut against Arsenal that weekend, he also scored two goals and provided an assist, making him the third youngest player to score for Manchester United in the league. He became a hero a month later when he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby.
His good form led to him being called up for England against Australia in a friendly at the end of the season. He scored after two minutes and earned himself a seat on the plane to France for the European Championships. He was a substitute in games agaisnt Wales and Iceland and his quality was evident. The 2016-2017 season saw him struggle as he was deployed on the wing with the arrival of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He only scored eleven goals in 53 appearances in all competitions. He has started the current season in great form, having scored four goals and provided five assists so far in all competitions. He scored on his Champion’s League debut against Basel and got his first competitive goal for England in a 2-1 victory over Slovakia in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup.
So it is evident that whatever posititon Rashford is playing, he is one of Europe’s brightest young stars and just like his meteoric rise through the ranks at Old Trafford, his future is bright and he will be leading the line for both United and England for many years to come.