Monday 5 December 2016

Marcus Rashford has taken a huge amount of knowledge from one particular Man United player

Tom Rooney

Published 28/09/2016 | 14:51

Marcus Rashford Photo: PA
Marcus Rashford Photo: PA

Precocious talent has ensured that Marcus Rashford is now a teammate of men who were established professionals when he was still in primary school, but the young Manchester United striker has not once looked out of place since his unexpected emergence last spring.

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Arguably not since Ryan Giggs burst onto the scene a decade before he was even born, has a homegrown Manchester United player been the source of such unbridled excitement as Marcus Rashford.

His two goal debut in last March’s Europa League victory over FC Midtjylland was the catalyst for one of the most dramatic rises in recent memory.

Subsequent goals on his Premier League, Manchester derby, England senior and U21, and EFL Cup debuts have served to make the 18-year-old a household name within six months of materialising from almost utter anonymity.

Four Premier League appearances, two of which have come from the bench, and another in the EFL Cup have already yielded four goals this term for the tyro who, until the last fortnight, appeared to be set for a peripheral role during Jose Mourinho’s first campaign at the helm.

After the Portuguese dropped Wayne Rooney for the 4-1 thumping of Leicester City, in which Rashford contributed a fine strike, it seems as though the latter will be occupying the left flank going forward as the former Chelsea boss continues to try and devise the best starting XI at his disposal.

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While some lamented the fact that the 34-year-old Zlatan Ibrahimovic was acquired as a free agent when United were in receipt of Rashford and Anthony Martial, Mourinho emphasised that the Swede was also there to mentor that young guns.

Indeed, Rashford has found the presence of Ibrahimovic to be thoroughly edifying.

"He's probably helped me improve more than what he thinks,” he said at an interview for Fifa 17.

“Without even saying anything, just me watching him, his hold up play and how he dictates his game. There's a lot more to learn."

Rashford’s Alan Shearer-like ability to score in debut matches has, of course, made his narrative all the more compelling, but he is unable to clearly discern as to why he thrives in circumstances many have shrunk in.

"I don't know what it is. I think the mixture of the team, you're a bit nervous but you want to do well so without knowing you try a bit more."

If one goal from his ever-growing collection stands out, it’s the sumptuous finish he uncorked to win the Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium last season.

“City away. One-nil. To win it 1-0 and get the goal is one of the best feelings."

United entertain Ukrainian outfit Zorya Luhansk in the Europa League tomorrow night as they continue to rebound from a three-game losing streak, which included an abject loss to Feyenoord in the same competition.

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