After a hungry yet inexperienced Marcus Rashford seized the chance Louis van Gaal gave him in February 2016, and he took the Premier League by storm with a brace against Arsenal three days later, a new gem was uncovered from the youth team at Carrington. Some may say a shining light amongst the dire football United fans were watching at the time. However, had Anthony Martial not got injured during that period, would Rashford have reached the heights that he has today?
Is Marcus Rashford the Answer to Manchester United’s Problems?
Only Available Option
Many United fans have pointed out that Rashford was not even the best player in the academy at that time, in an U18 side that finished second bottom in the Development League North that season. With both James Wilson and Will Keane on loan to Brighton & Hove Albion and Preston North End respectively, Marcus Rashford was the only viable option for the Dutch manager on that particular day.
All credit goes to Rashford for stepping up to the plate and making a name for himself in such a short space of time. That is unless you had taken the reigns at Old Trafford on Football Manager for the previous few seasons. In that case, his name may have had an air of familiarity about it.
Four seasons on and he now proudly dons the number ten shirt at United. Not only that, but he is now a starter alongside the man that he can thank for his opportunity all those years ago in Anthony Martial. Whilst people still refer to him as if he is a young up and coming talent, he is anything but. With well over 100 appearances in arguably the toughest league in the world, coupled with 36 caps for England, one could argue that he is now an ‘experienced’ player.
Leading the Line?
With this in mind, it could almost be expected that he would be leading the line for United with confidence, scoring plenty of goals, and setting an example for the likes of Mason Greenwood. The reality is entirely different. He often lacks confidence and snatches at chances and has never scored above ten goals in a Premier League season, despite having numerous chances to do so. Thirty-two goals in 122 games is his overall record since his debut against Arsenal.
By comparison, Jamie Vardy has scored over ten goals in every season that he has played in the Premier League, bar his first, and now has 89 goals in 186 games. This is why many people believe that the Red Devils should delve into the market for a ‘real’ striker and not rely on a man with an average of 0.26 goals per game.
Although Rashford is a good player and has blistering pace to accompany his technical ability, perhaps he just is not as good as people think. Maybe this is his level. Every time he puts in a performance, United fans become excited and can’t help but wonder if this is when the tide will turn for him. Then, though, he will miss a few chances, United will lose a game they shouldn’t have, and the bandwagon does a 360-degree turn.
Give it Time
Only time will tell if Marcus Rashford is cut out for starting at United. His form of late rather resembles that of this current United squad as a whole. The squad is full of good talented players, who are highly inconsistent, can’t seem to score more than one goal a game and struggle to go on a run and kickstart some sort of form. Even when they have a few good games here and there, you can never count on them to win the sort of games that you would expect them to.
Rashford has been compared to almost everyone from Nani to Ronaldo in the red half of Manchester. Maybe Jose Mourinho was right when he said following the Liverpool game on Sky Sports that he is a winger, not a striker. This also makes sense when looking at the way Mourinho utilised Rashford during his tenure with United. It is possible that he is just an impact player, similar to the likes of Nani, who will never really become consistent. However, he could go in the other direction under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has faith in him, and become a very successful player. As far as current form goes, the former certainly seems the more likely scenario, in the eyes of United fans.