Last season Marcus Rashford burst into the Manchester United first team so suddenly that we couldn’t help but wonder when the dream would end. From the brace on his debut against Midtjylland, to decisive goals in league wins over both Arsenal and Manchester City, the local lad’s rise to stardom really did look too good to be true. A season on, and it’s probably safe to say that Rashford really is a superb talent.
Of course, we still must be tentative in our praise: he did, after all, only score 12 goals in all competitions. But José Mourinho — not known for his patience with youngsters — trusted Rashford sufficiently to start him in almost half of United’s league games this season; 16 further appearances came from the bench. He played 84 minutes of the Europa League final against Ajax, offering an industry in attack that Zlatan Ibrahimović never could.
Through all, Rashford continued to show the raw attributes of a very good striker. Quick, an excellent finisher and deceptively strong, the lanky teenager is both technically and physically adept. But perhaps most importantly of all, he’s managed to keep his head screwed on, adapting well to the mental rigours of first team football at Old Trafford.
While he’s still got to do more to prove that he’s good enough to be United’s long-term centre-forward, we don’t think he’ll be going away any time soon.
José Mourinho approval rating: A proud paternal nod.