Marcus Rashford’s rise from zero to hero was unbelievable. Overnight, the Wythenshawe-born star made his name at Old Trafford – scoring a brace in United’s Europa League win against FC Midtjylland on his debut before bagging another double on his first Premier League outing against Arsenal just three days later.
Since then, Rashford has gone from strength to strength for the Red Devils and is now one of the first names included in Gareth Southgate’s England squad for international events. If truth be told, nobody saw his rise to prominence coming but at just 19 years old, the best is definitely yet to come.
The United youngster played a pivotal role last season as Jose Mourinho’s side won two of the four major honours available. Rashford scored a crucial goal in the first leg of the Europa League semi-final win against Celta Vigo, curling a free-kick past the hapless goalkeeper – and fans will expect more magical moments from the teenager next season.
If truth be told, he is potentially he is potentially United’s most exciting player. Yes, Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are phenomenal footballers but Rashford gets fans off their seat. Whether it is the Manchester connection or something else, the 19-year-old’s passion and hunger to play for United is clear for all to see and he could light up the Old Trafford pitch for many years to come.
Rashford started just 16 Premier League games last season, making an additional 16 cameo appearances off the substitutes bench. With five goals and just one assist, he had a fairly modest campaign statistically but his impact and influence on United’s attacking unit going forward were evident.
Midway through the campaign, Mourinho realised the error of his ways – Rashford needed to start. A tweak to the system was required but the England man slotted into the side at the expense of fellow youngster Anthony Martial and he looked a natural playing on the left wing, wreaking havoc and causing problems for opposing full-backs.
Although not a conventional winger by trade, Rashford’s pace and agility give United a new dimension on the flanks. At times, Martial has been criticised for his predictable nature but Rashford tends to mix it up. Summer signing Romelu Lukaku could form a solid partnership with the Reds youngster – especially if Mourinho gives Rashford plenty of freedom.
Another reason for his inclusion is his versatility. While you could make a claim for Mkhitaryan, Martial or even Juan Mata or Jessie Lingard, Rashford’s ability to move around the field gives him a distinct advantage over his peers. Mourinho loves adaptability on the football pitch and Rashford brings that to this United side.
As of July 14th, United are 3/1 to win the Premier League next season and they will need 19-year-old Rashford to be at his brilliant best to stand any chance of lifting the crown. Plenty of bettors will recall United’s struggles last term, particularly in front of goal, and may wish to look at free bets available with Oddschecker before placing a wager on the Red Devils.
Mourinho wasn’t Rashford’s biggest fan when he first took over at Old Trafford but the Portuguese has finally started to recognise his talent. United have struggled to entertain their supporters since Sir Alex Ferguson retired but with characters like Rashford, Pogba and Mourinho at the Theatre of Dreams, exciting football will return.
Rashford is now a recognisable figure for both United and England and Red Devils fans will be expecting another successful year for the youngster for the youngster. If he can fine tune his finishing on the big stage, Rashford could blossom into a truly world class talent – he certainly has the potential to make it at the top of European football.
Playing against the continent’s elite clubs, including Bayern Munich, Barcelona and current European champions Real Madrid, should help Rashford to further enhance his skills.
United will need their rising star to be at his scintillating best for the most part of the campaign if the Red Devils are to compete on multiple fronts and Mourinho knows it. Rashford may be young but he still has a pivotal role to play for United this term; he could be the difference between success and failure.