Thursday 19 May 2016

The rise and rise of Rashford: The making of England's newest star

To chart Marcus Rashford's astonishing rise from obscurity to FA Cup final start and England squad member, you must begin at lowly League One Shrewsbury on 22 February. 

The 18 year old was not involved in our routine 3-0 win having made a rare start for the Under 21's at City two days earlier.

Substitute Will Keane was forced off with injury 11 minutes from the end at Greenhous Meadow and as a result Rashford was included in Louis van Gaal's squad for the Europa League tie with Midtjylland the following Thursday.

As we know, Tony Martial's warm up injury catapulted the unknown youngster into the side- and the spotlight 20 minutes before kick-off- and he's never looked back since.

He comes from Wythenshawe, in South Manchester, and joined local boys club Fletcher Moss Rangers aged eight where he soon caught United's eye.

To an outsider, Rashford has emerged from nowhere to become a Premier League - and soon an England - star.

It is true that he only made his first team debut on 25 February and that by the time he lined up against Bournemouth on Tuesday he was picked in England's provisional squad for this summer's Euros having scored eight goals in seventeen games for the Reds.

But the striker had been touted as a first team star of the future long before his debut in February.

Playing in the Under 18's at 16, Rashford had featured in a first team squad before his dramatic debut against the Danes, having been on the bench for Van Gaal at Watford, Newcastle and Leicester earlier in the campaign. 

Rashford has always been ahead of his age.

Really, he should have been elevated into Warren Joyce's Under 21 squad having started the season under the now departed Paul McGuinness in the Under 18's.

McGuinness' experience is vast -  it was his team, featuring Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison and Jesse Lingard- that won the FA Youth Cup in 2011 and he sensed more could be made of Rashford's talent.

"It will be great to see him in the FA Cup final, Marcus is a great lad, a hard worker and very humble" said his former mentor.
"When I left United he was the first to get in touch to thank me.
"He's not there yet, he still drifts about and will need to stay clear of injury but he has given himself a great foundation.
"It is up to him to build on that, nobody else can do it."

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