At the moment, Marcus Rashford is in talks to renew his contract at Manchester United. The kid has come alive since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer came on board and has looked every bit of the goalscorer that many have expected him to be. Fantastic…but it took me a while to get to this point.
It didn’t take long for me to dislike the guy. After launching himself into public consciousness by scoring on his Europa League debut, the guy went on to score on his English Premier League debut against…you guessed it…freaking Arsenal. The double he scored that day confirmed Arsenal’s title race as done (as usual).
For me, he looked like another Federico Macheda (remember that guy? Scored in his 1st 2 games for United in 2009, especially the winner against Aston Villa, then disappeared immediately after that?…yea that guy), one who looked like he could have a good career but then proved…painfully…that he wasn’t cut out for top-level football.
Then he started to looked like another Welbeck (yea…the scam that’s at Arsenal…that’s the one) who showed a lot of potential but never really came through; and somehow managed to keep his spot in the team. There are even more similarities between both players: both came through the academy at Man United, both got their chance in the first team as teenagers, both didn’t score many goals but got goals in big games and against big teams, both started playing for England really early in their careers, both are pacey and look like great finishers (which is where Welbeck’s scam originates from).
However, Rashford has managed to break through my earlier assumptions and is now looking like a striker that should be leading the line for United. Over the years, Man United have always had great forwards but few were from the academy. Behind every Cantona, Cole, York, Nistlerooy, Rooney, Berbatov, Chicharito, and Van Persie, there’s a Chadwick, Will Keane, and Welbeck struggling to make themselves the main striker.
But I have to say that I’ve been impressed with how well Rashford has grown his game to the level it is today. Consistency has been an issue for him as he didn’t always deliver when he led the attack under Mourinho. The pressure has been on him since Day 1 and I was worried he was starting to wilt under it (James Wilson comes to mind) but he has beaten the odds and now leads United’s attack ahead of 75-million-pound Lukaku. He even wears the legendary number 10 jersey. That shows you how highly-rated he is at the club.
United have not had a home-grown top striker since Mark Hughes (in my opinion) so I can understand the skepticism around whether he can be the man to fire United to more titles in the future. But…Harry Kane has proven that with the right manager, you can have a fabulous home-grown goalscoring machine. Is Solksjaer the right man for Rashford? He has proven it so far. If he keeps this up, he could break a lot of norms facing home-grown English strikers.
He has already started anyway.