Marcus Rashford boasts incredible records on Manchester United and England debuts

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There have been few young English players to excite the nation like Marcus Rashford in recent years. And it's fair to say not too many Manchester United fans would have heard of the 18-year-old when he made his debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League last season.

But the Red Devils striker is continuing to impress and this time by netting a hat-trick on his England Under-21 debut, as the Three Lions secured a comfortable 6-1 thrashing of Norway in their Euro 2017 qualifier in Colchester on Tuesday evening.

And not only did the flourishing talent continue his fine form in front of goal, but also opened the scoring with a neat finish, against the run of play, to open the floodgates before netting twice more in the second half to make it a comfortable night for boss Gareth Southgate.


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However, Rashford's incredible rise from academy player to international star has taken a bizarre route, in which the 18-year-old leapfrogged the England Under-20s side to the senior set-up, before making the modest return to England's youth sides with the Under-21s.

Nonetheless, despite England deciding it was best for the United youngster to take a step back from senior football with the Three Lions, it's not for a lack of proven quality - having now scored, unbelievably, in all four major debuts he has made.

Manchester United debut

Having to come from behind in a two-legged fixture is a daunting prospect for any player, but for Rashford, making his senior debut for Manchester United, he made the job look easy.

Louis van Gaal's men were under pressure, playing in front of the Old Trafford faithful, to turn their shock 2-1 deficit against Danish minnows FC Midtjylland around. But with less than an hour until kick off, an injury suffered to Anthony Martial in the warm-up forced a late change which put Rashford in line for his debut.

Never mind the players who had been and gone before him leading the line for the Red Devils, Rashford played with bravery and belief, which was eventually rewarded with two goals inside 12 second-half minutes to send both the striker and United fans into euphoria and comfortably through into the next round.

Having never played a senior match, little was expected of the 18-year-old. But, as was proved in the following match, it was certainly no fluke.

Premier League debut

In the space of three days, Rashford went from zero to hero. An unexpected United debut was followed up with a big Premier League debut at home to English giants Arsenal. Few expected the teenager's heroics to reoccur in front of such high-quality opposition, but they did.

In fact, Rashford's two first-half strikes gave the Red Devils a 2-0 advantage, and the United youngster's goals proved to be the difference as a late Mesut Ozil strike threatened what had been a great start for Van Gaal's men. But, in the end, the 18-year-old's two goals proved to be the difference.

England debut

Rashford had done it twice before, but English players have a well-known reputation for being able to perform with their clubs, but not their country.

However, the United star had already proved fans wrong in his previous two debuts, and clearly had no intent of failing to get off the mark in his international debut either.

Having netted eight goals in the second half of the season for United, it was only a short matter of time before Roy Hodgson gave the youngster the nod to kick start his international career. And it took just three minutes of senior international football for Rashford to pay back the faith shown in him, with an early strike in England's Euro 2016 warm-up friendly against Australia.

And despite an incredible second half of the season with United, it was perhaps the game against Australia in which Hodgson decided the 18-year-old would be boarding the plane to France, for his first taste of an international tournament.

Rashford rarely featured at the Euros, but was one of, if not the only, positive from the Three Lions' abysmal showing against Iceland in their last-16 defeat.

England Under-21 debut

Having netted on his three previous debuts, it was to no surprise when Rashford popped up with the opening goal against Norway on Tuesday night. Featuring against players of his own age had become a bit alien to the 18-year-old in recent months, but not that it stopped him scoring.

A goal against the run of play got Southgate's team up and running, before a 66th-minute strike continued the rout. But the teenager would have been denied a first career hat-trick, had it not been for the sportsmanship of regular penalty taker, James Ward-Prowse, to step aside to allow Rashford to make it his third for the evening.

It perhaps won't be long before new England boss Sam Allardyce recalls Rashford to the senior set-up, based on his current form. His goalscoring ability is certainly not under question.

Will Marcus Rashford return to the senior England squad ahead of their next World Cup qualifiers? Give your opinion in the comment box below.

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Wayne Rooney
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain
England Football
Premier League
Eric Dier
Marcus Rashford
Manchester United
Louis van Gaal
Jose Mourinho
Sam Allardyce

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