No Need To Panic Over Marcus Rashford’s Development At Man United

People are always in a rush to crown the next big thing and they want that talent to be fully developed within a certain timeframe.

Marcus Rashford broke into the Manchester United first team in early 2016 and it was a phenomenal introduction as the forward grabbed a debut brace against Danish side FC Midtjylland in the Europa League. The youngster followed that up with another double in his Premier League debut against Arsenal.

Then ‘Red Devils’ boss Louis van Gaal was delighted with the young forward’s instant impact:

“You get a chance and you have to perform, you have to do the things that we are asking. I have always said it is not a matter of age, it is a matter of quality and he shows it.”

Since then, Rashford has went on to score twenty goals in seventy-five appearances for United. He has also won England recognition at senior level, earning eleven caps and scoring twice.

Some pundits and supporters wanted to see a higher goalscoring ratio from the nineteen year old. Certain critics lay the blame at current United boss Jose Mourinho’s door, they state he doesn’t give young players a chance.

That’s not really true when you consider that Marcus made fifty-three club appearances in all competitions last term.

When that’s pointed out, focus changes to Rashford being played out of position or not starting enough.

The boy is still nineteen, surely it’s better for his development to be playing. Now Jose has used him in wide areas but Rashford’s willingness to run, ability to dribble and his desire to learn shows that he’s able to come into the team and play in those wide areas.

This season, he’s started twice in the league and came off the bench in the third game. He has been used on the left and has a goal and an assist to his name. The young hitman is still producing around three shots per game and has a healthy 82% passing success average.

In England’s last fixture, Marcus scored and created an assist in the Three Lions important 2-1 win over Slovakia. By the way, he started on the right for the national team!

For me, he’s maturing into a fine footballer. He’s still raw but you can see him working hard and he seems determined to develop his all-round game.

Then there’s the comparisons. Football loves a good comparison.

Kylian Mbappe is another teenage sensation and recently he completed a £100m plus move to PSG (initially on loan). He burst onto the scene at AS Monaco with fantastic pace and a fine finishing pedigree. Last season he managed to grab twenty-six goals in all competitions.

People see the progress of Mbappe and wonder why Rashford hasn’t hit the exact same heights. But I think we need to wait and see how Mbappe copes in his second full season at the top and where he’ll play for Les Parisiens. Now I don’t doubt Mbappe will be a success at the Parcs de Princes, but I can see him drifting off to the wings and being benched on occasions too.

Another recent comparison has seen Marcus compared with former Man Utd youth Danny Welbeck.

I think it’s down to the work ethic that the two share and the fact that Welbeck was often moved out from a central position and didn’t become a prolific marksman.

I’m not sure it’s a terrible comparison; Welbeck works hard for his team, can score vital goals and he’s versatile. That being said, I think Rashford has more about him when it comes to scoring goals.

The Man United forward comes alive in the box, reacts instinctively when chances come his way and he still has a want for scoring goals.

We saw last season, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic succumbed to injury, that it was Rashford that Jose turned to when it came to leading the line. The young England international was excellent as the team’s focal point and he looked a better all-round striker than the one who broke onto the scene a year earlier.

The hitman had listened to his manager, made changes to his game and that won him his gaffers respect:

“Last season everyone was saying it would be difficult for me to play Marcus – but he was one of the top in appearances for the team. He’s learning a lot, a great professional, great attitude.”

The main thing people need to remember is that Marcus Rashford is still learning his trade at Old Trafford. Manager Mourinho is still wary of that and will protect the precocious talent as he continues in his development.

Hopefully in certain games Rashford will get more time through the middle. I think a partnership could blossom between the teen and Romelu Lukaku but some of us need to show some patience and we can’t write him off at such an early stage, especially when he’s still producing highly polished performances at the highest level!

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