Player Profile - Marcus Rashford

Red Devil’s Graduate Rising To Prominence

Personal information
Full name: Marcus Rashford
Date of birth: 31 October 1997 
Age: 18
Place of birth: Wythenshawe, England
Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in) 
Playing position: Forward

Club information
Current team: Manchester United
Number: 39

Youth career
2003–2005: Fletcher Moss Rangers
2005–2016: Manchester United

Senior career
2016– Manchester United 8 Appearances, 5 goals  

National career
2012–2013: England U16 2 Appearances, 0 goals
2014–2015: England U18 2 Appearances, 0 goals 

At 18 years and 141 days old, Marcus Rashford became the youngest player to score in a Manchester Derby – a goal which means he’s also scored more than Angel Di Maria and Falcao ever did for Manchester United. It is easy to get carried away when Manchester United youth players make explosive starts but Rashford’s rise to prominence looks ever-less like a flash in the pan. The striker’s introduction to the team may have been forced upon Louis Van Gaal but he has been at ease in the United first XI, given the Old Trafford fans some excitement and something to look forward to. 

You could forgive an 18-year-old for being a little nervous making his debut in knock-out European competition, in front of 70,000 fans at Old Trafford and millions more on TV but if Marcus Rashford was, he didn’t show it. Rashford has already scored five times since Louis van Gaal thrust him into the first-team last month. He netted a brace against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League before scoring another double in the Premier League against Arsenal. Teams that play with one striker tend to prefer a slightly stronger, larger-built human to patrol the attacking areas of the pitch but Rashford – again like Michael Owen used to – doesn’t rely on out-muscling defenders to score. He doesn’t really need to. Time and again in his short Manchester United career, Rashford has shown he can glide past players when he sees the opportunity to and very few defenders have been able to get close. He combines fast-flowing passing moves with little flicks as well, which might seem unnecessary and elaborate but the situations in which they are employed ensures defenders are left guessing where the ball will go up until the last second, opening up more space for his teammates. 

Rashford joined United from the renowned Fletcher Moss Junior football club, following in the steps of Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck and Ravel Morrison in coming from the Didsbury to Old Trafford. Fellow Carrington star Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was also previously at the successful junior side. The Red Devils piped rivals Manchester City to Rashford's signature in 2014 and the youngster's decision to sign with United paid dividends, as he became a crucial part of Paul McGuinness' under-18 side. Rashford also impressed earlier this season in the UEFA Youth League, netting twice at PSV Eindhoven and scoring from the spot against Wolfsburg. He is an energetic striker, who possesses a powerful shot, with an incredible work ethic and has the typical poaching ability that a striker should. The Manchester-born starlet has an eye for the spectacular goal and is a real threat at set-pieces. While his explosive talent may still be somewhat raw, Rashford has progressed at an encouraging rate over the last 18 months. 

The 18-year-old is United's man of the moment but still earns just £500 a week as Old Trafford's top brass were waiting on a new deal. Teen hero Rashford could receive a bumper pay rise earlier than expected as Manchester United bid to keep him at the club. Old Trafford chiefs are allegedly backtracking on their initial plan to hand Rashford a new contract at the end of the season. According to reports, Rashford could now put pen to paper on a £15,000-a-week deal in the coming weeks as United bid to ease the growing hype around their young sensation. The new deal would mean that the 18-year-old would earn over 15 times his current wage. And Rashford took the headlines once more when he slotted home the winning goal in the Manchester derby, propelling United back into the mix for Champions League qualification. The Red Devils youngster looks like a star of the future after a goalscoring spree. Rashford's goals and best games for Manchester United have been in a crucial knock-out European game against FC Midtjylland, a two-goal haul against title-chasing Arsenal and a stunning winner against fierce local rivals Man City - he steps it up for the big games. The next step in Rashford's development must be to cause havoc against the heavily fortified defences of teams like Watford. 

Talk has been played down of Roy Hodgson including him in his squad for Euro 2016, but who knows, the prestigious European tournament is a few months away and if the youngster keeps his form up, then the England manager will definitely have a dilemma to deal with. Promising superstars have come and gone at Old Trafford in the past and Marcus Rashford will be made only too aware that he has to work hard if he wants to become a first team player in the future and not the tricky answer to a pub quiz question. The talent is clearly there - United fans wanted a new local hero, and may have finally found one.