Marcus Rashford doesn’t turn 17 until October 31, but the Manchester United starlet is already making waves in the Red Devils’ youth ranks. Named as United’s best young talent by the Guardian earlier this month, we take a closer look at why this kid has been tipped to make it to the top.
It always makes things a little easier if you’re a local lad and support the club, which is handy for Rashford, who was born and raised in Manchester and grew up as a United fan. Old Trafford officials will be hoping the teenager’s love for United will encourage him to continue his development with the 20-time English champions, rather than moving elsewhere. But a host of top clubs are reportedly keen to sign him.
City, Arsenal and Chelsea want him
Back in May, it was reported that Manchester City had desires to lure Rashford away from Old Trafford to the Etihad Stadium. United had failed to tie the talented teen down to a long-term contract - because of wages - and ran the risk of losing him to their fierce local rivals.
Chelsea and Arsenal were also sniffing around the midfielder, who United believe is most comfortable playing in the playmaker role, but for the time being he remains with his boyhood club.
Is Rashford the next Pogba?
Although Manchester United class him as a striker on their official website, Rashford has a tendency to drop deep into midfield, as this compilation video against Liverpool from earlier this year demonstrates.
His style of play, in many ways, bares similarities to that of former Manchester United youngster Paul Pogba, who left Old Trafford in 2012 after failing to establish himself in the club’s first team under Sir Alex Ferguson.
Rashford is not blessed with the same rangy physique as Pogba, who is now widely regarded as the best young central midfielder in world football, but his close control is superb, he can dribble and play a pass.
"But, as with all potential, the big question is how hard to Manchester-born boy is willing to work to realise the dream." - Jamie Jackson, Guardian.
Van Gaal must tie Rashford down to long-term deal
If he is blessed with half the talent of Pogba, then Manchester United must fight tooth and nail to keep him at Old Trafford. Ferguson’s failure to tie Pogba down to a long-term contract will be remembered as one of the biggest mistakes of his 26-year tenure, and Louis van Gaal can ill-afford to make the same mistake with Rashford.
Whether or not he fulfils his immense potential could ultimately come down to his attitude and hunger to develop and improve. So many talented young footballers fall by the wayside because they lack the required mentality to become a top professional - so it’s down to Rashford to decide whether he becomes the next Pogba, or the next Ravel Morrison.