When a thundering round of claps and cheers broke out from the away fans at the KCOM Stadium after the 93rd-minute winner from Manchester United, more than anything else, it was a point proved by a budding youngster whose growth seemed to be on the verge of being stalled. Marcus Rashford brought energy and freshness on the pitch when José Mourinho’s aged personnel looked frustrated up front in dealing with a stubborn Hull City defence. Frankly, the scenario resembled Rashford’s present situation in a nutshell.
Supplanting Wayne Rooney or Zlatan Ibrahimović from the starting line-up is a risk Mourinho would shudder to contemplate in a bona fide manner. On the other shore, the 18-year-old has done no wrong whatsoever to lose game-time owing to the proven talisman’s availability at the disposal of the gaffer.
Undoubtedly, he is the new sweetheart of Manchester but legitimate concerns about the 18-year-old are on the rise. Many demean and belittle the contributions made by Louis van Gaal to Manchester United, but one must not forget the emphasis he laid onto the promotion of youth prospects.
Brace on debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League, brace against Arsenal and then going on to score the winning goal against Manchester City, Rashford became a household name as he found himself under the limelight in 2016 as a blooming prospect for the Red Devils. His achievements and recognition are well earned by him and they were not an output of a single glamorous outing. Rashford is indeed Manchester United’s answer as to how a youth product can take the league by storm. Rashford is an asset whose intrinsic value is surely on the rise with every passing day.
There is hardly any flaw in the English international. The light-weighted, averagely built attacker is one of the best in finding passes to perfection in the top tier of English football. With a delightful ability to change the direction of his runs with the ball at his feet, his presence of mind is on another level of superiority.
Interestingly, he never refrains from finding space for his fellow attackers and does everything right in the final third, ranging from taking on the defenders when chalked on the wings to catering to the mercurial needs of the side when his side needs some tooth in front of the opposite goal. His tenacity and soundness on the pitch is moving on an upward trajectory and thus, moulding him adequately in the right manner holds paramount importance.
Mourinho has the big task of ensuring wins and at the same time, to promote what the twenty-time league champions advocate: to promote young talents. The Portuguese has kept it no secret about his admiration for Rashford but also facing a conundrum of choosing his starting eleven. However, the youngster must be patient and needs to try to put pressure on the older attackers by satisfying the manager with quality time on the pitch whenever given the chance to perform.
A growth which has been like a dream, Rashford has all the qualities to be a nightmare for the opponents and can eventually be one in the near future, for the crown of the prince of Manchester seems to have finally found an heir.