Friday 26 February 2016

Dream debut for Rashford caps rapid Reds rise

Ruud van Nistelrooy, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, James Wilson and Anthony Martial.

Added to that list now is the name of 18-year-old Marcus Rashford.

All of the above strikers scored on their United debuts and, if Rashford goes on to have anything like the impact of RvP, RvN and WR at Old Trafford, then his debut yesterday will be remembered as a "where were you" moment. 

Initially named on the bench for Thursday's second leg against Midtjylland, the 18-year-old Academy rookie was thrown in at the deep end after Anthony Martial picked up a hamstring injury in the warm-up.

The lack of preparation did not bother the young striker, though, as he showed all the hallmarks of a star in the making with an impressive all round performance capped by two excellent debut goals and becoming United's youngest European goalscorer in the process. 

Memphis might have been the pick of the bunch on a good night for United - and our young players in particular - but from the moment that Rashford pick-pocketed a defender and sped away to the touchline, it was clear why he's been fast-tracked to the first team squad.

Named on the bench by Louis van Gaal at Watford and Leicester earlier in the season, Rashford became the latest in an ever-lengthening list of Academy graduates to go on and make a senior bow for the Reds. 

Top scorer for the Under-18 side last season with 13, he initially started out as an attacking midfielder only to be put up front as a result of Demetri Mitchell's injury - he impressed enough to stay there and has never looked back.

It's been a swift and rapid rise for the Wythenshawe-born boyhood United fan.

Having plied his trade for the Under-18 and Under-21 sides this season, he has long been touted as one of the most burgeoning talents in United's youth setup.

Yet, he might have found himself in the sky blue of City (shudder!) had Rene Meulensteen not persuaded to choose the red half of Manchester -  he trained with both clubs before he made the big decision to join United.

Rashford is one of a number of players to have played for local side Fletcher Moss Rangers whom has gone on to become a professional with former Reds Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck and Ravel Morrison among the youth club's previous alumni. 

Rashford impressed for Nicky Butt's Under 19 side in the UEFA Europa Youth League- captaining the side and scoring against PSV and scored his first Under 21 goal in a 6-1 win over Leicester shortly before Christmas. 

Marcus Rashford profile

Born: Wythenshawe, Manchester
Date of birth: 31.10.1997 (18) 

Joined United: 1 July 2014
Position: Striker

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