Marcus Rashford scored his first Manchester United hat-trick last night in a 5-0 win over RB Leipzig.
It was quite the performance from the man who can do no wrong at the moment, his treble coming in just 27 minutes of action – the fastest by a substitute in Champions League history.
Kylian Mbappe was the previous holder of that record, the Frenchman’s hat-trick against Lokomotiv Moscow in last season’s competition coming in just 31 minutes.
Both Rashford and Mbappe are often compared to one another given the fact they’re similar ages and have similar playing styles.
The pair and Borussia Dortmund starlet Erling Haaland are perhaps the three most gifted young forwards on the planet right now.
We’re not saying the Englishman is superior to either of the duo, or even as good, but his performances over the past 18-24 months simply cannot be ignored.
So here’s seven reasons why we believe Rashford is now in the same conversation as Mbappe and Haaland…
1. Scores in big games
Like both Mbappe and Haaland, Rashford always seems to turn up for the big occasion.
He’s also scored two match-winners against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League over the past two years, outshining Mbappe in the process…
2. Performs on the international stage
We’re not saying Rashford is superior to Mbappe in this department, because the Frenchman has won the World Cup and even scored in the final.
But Rashford’s overall record for England is pretty impressive. In 40 games for the Three Lions, the United man has scored 11 goals and provided six assists.
Mbappe’s is, of course, far better, the PSG superstar scoring 16 times and assisting a further 12 goals in his 38 games with Les Bleus.
Haaland’s record will be the most impressive of the lot if he continues in the same vain, the giant striker registering six goals and one assist in just seven games for Norway.
The latter two are contributing to more goals, that’s just a fact, but it’s also clear that Rashford is excelling on the international stage too.
3. Supreme physical attributes
Rashford, Mbappe and Haaland all set themselves apart from the competition with their outrageous physical prowess.
The former two are both lightning quick and are blessed with a catalogue of tricks that outweighs 99% of other professionals’.
As for Haaland, the Leeds-born striker is quite the specimen, a concoction of speed and power that can rarely be stopped.
All three were designed by the footballing Gods to torment opposing defenders, which they all do pretty darn regularly.
A tell-tale sign for an elite-level striker in the modern era is their ability to assist, as well as score.
Unsurprisingly, Mbappe leads the way here, the 21-year-old registering 57 assists in just 131 games for PSG.
But do not turn your nose up at Rashford’s returns as a creator. In 223 games in all competitions with United, the Englishman has assisted his teammates on 41 occasions.
Haaland lags behind here, his 54 games with Dortmund and Salzburg yielding just 13 assists. So why is it popular to say the 20-year-old Norwegian is ‘clear’ of Rashford, eh?
Another department where Rashford outranks Haaland is in terms of versatility, as the United man can operate in a world-class manner across the entire forward line – just like Mbappe.
The Norwegian is strictly a centre-forward and he’s bloody excellent in the role, but it’s hard to envision the 6’4″ colossus operating as effectively on the wing.
Rashford scored the majority of his 17 Premier League goals last season from out wide, despite his favoured role being as the focal point of attack.
6. Playing in a superior league
Yep, we said it, cue the endless ‘farmers league’ comments.
Unlike many across social media, we don’t believe Ligue 1 and Bundesliga deserve to be degraded in such a manner.
However, it’s hard to argue against the Premier League being a more competitive league and therefore more difficult to score in.
So surely we have to take that into consideration, right? Especially given PSG’s unwavering dominance over the French top-flight.
As we said previously, this was not a list designed to try and put Rashford on a pedestal above Mbappe and Haaland, far from it.
All we wanted to highlight was that Rashford has done more than enough in his glittering young career to earn the right to be compared with the aforementioned duo.
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