All eyes on fresh­faced Rash­ford

CityPress - - Sport -

Le­ices­ter City’s Premier League ti­tle tri­umph is rightly con­sid­ered by many to be a mod­ern-day foot­ball fairy­tale, with the Foxes seem­ingly com­ing out of nowhere to stun Eng­land’s big-name clubs.

Manch­ester United, how­ever, boast their own fairy­tale story in young­ster Mar­cus Rash­ford, who an­nounced him­self to the world with a brace on his de­but, in a 5-1 tri­umph over FC Midtjyl­land in the Europa League on Fe­bru­ary 25.

Just three days later, the fresh-faced teenager was at it again, net­ting a dou­ble on his Premier League de­but as the Red Devils recorded a 3-2 vic­tory over ti­tle hope­fuls Arse­nal at Old Traf­ford.

For a player who had har­boured as­pi­ra­tions of break­ing into the club’s Un­der-21 side prior to mak­ing his sur­prise first-team bow, it was most cer­tainly an in­spi­ra­tional story for United sup­port­ers and neu­trals alike.

Rarely will an 18-year-old make such a last­ing im­pres­sion, and Rash­ford went some way to­wards dis­pelling fears that his stun­ning start would prove to be noth­ing more than a flash in the pan.

Fol­low­ing a se­ries of en­cour­ag­ing per­for­mances, the Wythen­shawe-born for­ward re­turned to the goal-scor­ing trail in the Manch­ester derby, scor­ing the match­win­ning goal in a 1-0 vic­tory over their ‘noisy neigh­bours’.

He then scored the open­ing goal in a 2-1 vic­tory over West Ham United in the FA Cup quar­ter­fi­nals, be­fore fir­ing the Red Devils to a 1-0 win over As­ton Villa in the league three days later.

How­ever, he was only able to con­trib­ute one as­sist in the 3-2 loss to West Ham on April 23, as the Ham­mers ex­acted a sem­blance of re­venge for their FA Cup exit.

Rash­ford was clearly do­ing enough to earn the trust of for­mer United man­ager Louis van Gaal, though, as he con­tin­ued to lead the line. In fact, the Dutch­man opted to drop Mem­phis De­pay to the bench for much of the lat­ter stages of the sea­son, shift­ing An­thony Mar­tial out on the left flank and de­ploy­ing skip­per Wayne Rooney in a deep-ly­ing role be­hind Rash­ford.

And he ended the Premier League sea­son in fine form, scor­ing United’s sec­ond goal in a 3-1 vic­tory over Bournemouth to raise his tally in the league to five, while also con­tribut­ing two as­sists.

While he did not add to his tally in the FA Cup fi­nal tri­umph over Crys­tal Palace, Rash­ford seem­ingly did enough to con­vince Eng­land boss Roy Hodg­son to name the young­ster in his pro­vi­sional 26-man squad for Euro 2016 in France.

His trans­for­ma­tion into one of the coun­try’s bright­est prospects was com­pleted on May 27, when Rash­ford made his Three Lions de­but in a warm-up game against Aus­tralia at Sun­der­land’s Sta­dium of Light.

It’s fair to say he did not dis­ap­point, find­ing the back of the net af­ter just three min­utes to be­come the youngest English­man to score on his in­ter­na­tional de­but, a record set by Tommy Law­ton in 1938.

Hav­ing been named in Hodg­son’s fi­nal 23-man squad set to do battle in France, Rash­ford will pre­sum­ably be given the chance to show­case his skills at the high­est level. While he is by no means a guar­an­teed starter for Eng­land, the United star­let will cer­tainly be one of many tal­ented young­sters to watch at Euro 2016. - TEAMtalk Me­dia

PHOTO: PAUL GILHAM / GETTY IMAGES

DAN­GER-MAN Jamie Vardy of Le­ices­ter City should form a deadly part­ner­ship with Harry Kane at Euro 2016

PHOTO: ALEX LIVESEY / GETTY IMAGES

SPRING CHICKEN Mar­cus Rash­ford is one of the young play­ers ex­pected to do won­ders at Euro 2016 if given a chance

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