Breaking into the Manchester United side as an 18-year-old is an incredible feat, especially when you consider some of the big names that have competed for the Reds over the years. Marcus Rashford took his opportunity back in 2016 and has never looked back.
Scoring twice on his first-team debut in the Europa League, subsequently becoming United’s youngest ever goal scorer in Europe, Rashford went from an unknown name to an England international so quickly it’s easy to forget he is still only 20-years-old.
Flash-forward to 2018 and Rashford has made over 80 appearances for the Reds and already has 25 international caps to his name. Despite this, the last few months haven’t been the greatest for the youngster.
Being part of an England squad making the semi-finals of a World Cup must have been an incredible experience, but Rashford himself didn’t make much of an impact.
For the current season, he has found himself with his playing time limited and hasn’t had much of an influence so far. Rashford also saw red at Sunday’s win over Burnley after sticking his head into Phil Bardsley following the defender kicking out.
So why has Rashford been on the fringes of the team, and is he ready to step-up should he find himself as a regular starter?
There is a possible confidence issue, which is to be expected in someone so young as Rashford but with so much pressure on his shoulders to succeed. As someone who is often seen as a regular goal scorer, especially as he is known for scoring on debuts, a spell without a goal is sure to have an effect on any player.
Playing out of position could also be a factor. Rashford’s favoured position is upfront, predominantly as the number nine, however he often finds himself on the wing.
Former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright recently argued that Rashford needs to leave Old Trafford to get regular first-team football as a goal scoring striker.
If a big club comes in for him and offers him assurances of playing upfront, there is a chance we could see Rashford leaving the Reds as early as next summer. Considering he’s one of the brightest young stars we’ve seen come through the academy, the preference would be for him to stay.
Either way, this season is an important one for Rashford and could define whether we see him playing at Old Trafford next season.
Once he returns from suspension, a couple of goals could reinvigorate his confidence. Even then if he returns to better form, it still doesn’t guarantee a first-team spot considering there is competition with names such as Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to start.
This could be a season Rashford looks back on and sees it as a defining moment in his United career; it could take off and see him becoming a regular starter, or it could be the beginning of the end before we see him move on to pastures new.