Marcus Rashford has gone from academy player to Manchester United star in the space of a month.
The 18-year-old showcased his skills in Sunday’s Manchester derby with his composed finish in the first half.
It was a goal that proved Rashford will be a nightmare for defenders for the next decade. Chris Smalling is certainly pleased he can call the youngster a teammate, and not an opponent.
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The defender admitted to MUTV that he would “fear” playing against Rashford, who possess sublime pace.
“You can see he’s always on the [defender’s] shoulder,” Smalling told MUTV. “And I think if I was up against him, he’s one who would certainly put fear in you!
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“He’s done it in the previous games as well, so it’s great for him and great for us.
“It's so refreshing to see a young kid who wants to run and keep running. You could see he cramped up [at the end of the game] but that didn’t stop him – he was the man to step up.”
Martin Demichelis will certainly be pleased to see the back of him. The Argentine was put on skates when Rashford ghosted past him and slotted the ball past Joe Hart.
Manuel Pellegrini admitted after the game that he substituted the defender because he was “nervous”. Demichelis has played in a World Cup final and a Champions League final, yet he was scared by a striker who has played eight professional games.
That isn’t a knock on Demichelis. It simply proves how talented Rashford is.
David Beckham's a fan
David Beckham praised the youngster following his display against Manchester City, saying it was “refreshing” to watch someone play with such exuberance.
Beckham posted a picture of Rashford celebrating his goal along with the caption: “When a young kid that loves the club he is at and loves the game he is playing this is what you get... The excitement in Marcus's face after scoring against our rivals is exactly what a kid his age should look like... It's refreshing and pleasing to see... Congrats to Marcus on another great day”.
It was another moment for Rashford to celebrate. He scored on his Europa League debut and his Premier League debut, and found the net in his first Manchester derby.
Ian Wright has warned against rushing Rashford
It’s crucial Manchester United and England monitor his development. With fans debating on social media whether Rashford should be taken to the European Championships, former Arsenal striker Ian Wright warned against rushing the teenager.
“[England have] got enough forwards at the moment,” Wright told The Sun. “Let Marcus Rashford develop.
“He is already at a big club and he seems to be able to deal with the pressure. But we should let him develop, let him deal with the pressures of England at his age group. Then, when the time is right, he can come into the squad.
“I really hope that people don’t start talking him up for getting into the squad.”
It’s too late for that, Wrighty. That ship set sail when Rashford scored a brace against FC Midtjylland last month.