Marcus Rashford made a stunning start to his career with Manchester United senior side with 2 vital goals against Midtylland in the UEFA Europa League. But his double against arch rivals Arsenal in the space of three days show how important a player could be for the Red Devils in the coming seasons.
A week ago, the international football community knew nothing about this 18-year old prodigy. But he is highly popular with Manchester United fans after strong performances with their junior teams since joining the club’s academy at the age of seven.
Anthony Martial’s injury just before kick-off against Midtylland on Thursday had opened the chances for Rashford in United’s first team, who otherwise could have spend most of this season with reserve sides and eventually loaned out to various clubs in the next few seasons.
Rashford’s goals against Midtylland made him Manchester United’s youngest ever scorer in European competitions, breaking a record previously held by George Best. His two goals in three minutes against Arsenal give the youngster much needed confidence for the rest of the season and a week to remember for his entire life.
This is also the sad story of many European elite club’s reluctance to draw players from their youth side. The days of inflated transfer fees and marketing requirements above footballing principles are here and the players of Rashford’s caliber could go missing under the radar when managers are scouts are constantly looking for senior players who can make a quick impact.
This is the club which has spent over an 80 million pounds on the transfer of young players like Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay in the summer of 2015, overlooking the club’s brightest talents like Jese Lingard and Adnan Janujaz. The likes of Borthwick-Jackson, Varela got their chances only because of the injuries to more than 10 players, predominantly of those big money signings like Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo.
Anthony Martial has done pretty well this season, but still far away from justifying his price tag. Manchester United’s league position also confirms the flawed transfer policies of a club who has been in a decline since post-Ferguson era. Most of the focus this season has been on Louis Van Gaal’s playing philosophy, but the question still remains if the performances have been different even with a different head-coach.
We remain to see what role Rashford plays when club captain Rooney and Martial becomes fit. But without a doubt the teenage prodigy has become a fan favourite at Old Trafford within a matter of few days.