Manchester United, the most successful team in the English top-flight, have a knack for churning out world-class talents. Players, coaches, facilities all have changed over the years, but the results have remained the same — the graduates are still just as decisive.
Marcus Rashford celebrated his 100th Premier League appearance with the winner at Leicester City on Sunday, becoming the second-youngest Manchester United player — behind Ryan Giggs — to touch the iconic milestone. The expertly orchestrated finish took his Premier League goal tally to 9 goals for the season, making him the club’s joint top scorer alongside Paul Pogba.
100 – Marcus Rashford (21y 95d) will become the second youngest player in Premier League history to reach 100 appearances for Manchester United in the competition, with only Ryan Giggs (21y 74d) doing so at a younger age. Devilish. #LEIMUN pic.twitter.com/FERSqB0l7r
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 3, 2019
The England international played his 100th Premier League game just 95 days past his 21st birthday, missing Giggs’ record by a mere three weeks. As expected, hacking it at Manchester really hasn’t been straightforward for the young goalscorer, but thanks to his enviable work ethic and a commendable fighting spirit, he’s still here and against all the odds.
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Since his Premier League debut for Manchester United in February 2016, the 21-year-old has had to adapt through a number of tactical shifts. Former manager, Jose Mourinho, just could not see the clinical number 9 in him, but things have been certainly changed for the better under the interim manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer.
Premier League Stats
Shots on target: 76
Rashford was never meant to be the big, bad playground bully that Mourinho expected him to be. The youngster has always been a nimble-footed little minx, who values subtlety above all. He isn’t physically intimidating like Romelu Lukaku, but he knows his way around the box just the same.
Solskjaer, being a former striker himself, has given the freedom Rashford needed to thrive, and the result is for everyone to see. The Manchester United academy graduate has netted six goals in 8 appearances under the Norwegian, and considering the form he’s in, we’re certain to see a good number of goals before the season runs out.
26 – Since his Premier League debut for Manchester United in February 2016, Marcus Rashford has scored more goals in the competition (26) than any other player for the club. Opener. #LEIMUN [OptaJoe]
— Man Utd Empire (@Empire_Mu) February 4, 2019
“I’m delighted for him because he’s coming on and he’ll be a top, top player,” Solskjaer told reporters at the end of December, as quoted by Goal.
“The way he’s gone about this job, playing up top, the work rate he puts in, he’s got everything.”
“I’m really pleased that he’ll get goals. But his work rate, all the work he puts in, that’s a big pleasing thing for me – with the whole team, because we should never be outworked by anyone. And he’s the catalyst. I’ll have to slow him down at times.”
Having risen through Manchester United’s academy, the expectations, quite naturally, are sky high from the youngster. He already had the necessary skill set to become one of the standout performers, and now, after Solskjaer’s appointment, he has the license to play in his desired position. It’s been a while since the Old Trafford club have embraced one of their own, but the omens suggest the excruciating wait could come to an end, really soon. Marcus Rashford has always been one of the most promising prospects in world football. Now, it’s finally time for him to utilise his potential and emerge as the world-beater everyone’s tipping him to become.