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