By Olasoji Fasoranti
Sleek, Pace and Power. Key attributes that sets Marcus Rashford apart from his colleagues at that young age and he has made the scene look like he has been there forever.
Born on October 31, 1997 in Wythenshawe, Manchester, England of Kittitian descent. Rashford began playing football at the age of five at Fletcher Moss Rangers before joining the academy system at Manchester United at the age of seven. He grew up loving the Brazilian striker Ronaldo and watched him score a hat trick for Real Madrid against his boyhood club Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2003, a game in which Ronaldo was given a standing ovation by both sets of fans when he came of the pitch.
For a young lad who had 9 GSCE grades AC under his belt, it is obvious he is a very intelligent both on and off the pitch.
“At First, he got under our feet, but very quickly he learnt how to balance himself and keep the ball.” Brother Dwaine talking about Rashford thrown early into the frame of things at a young age. His family remembers Marcus as an ordinary, happy kid, who loved video games and playing with his friends but it was very clear he was a special talent. Fletcher Moss Academy has been producing young talents for 31 years now. The likes of Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck, Ravel Morrison, Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard all played for the amateur side before joining Manchester United.Sixteen of the their former players are currently representing England at various age groups. Countless others, including Sheffield Wednesday and Republic of Ireland goalkeeper, Keiren Westwood, have gone on to enjoy professional careers.
He joined Manchester United academy at age seven and he immediately impressed the coaches with his physical prowess.
“One of the first things we look at in young players is how they move, with and without the ball,” United’s former youth coach Paul McGuinness.
When he was 11, he became the youngest ever player to be selected for the Man United Schoolboy Scholars [MANUSS] scheme.
At 12, Rashford was already playing cage football with the likes of Pogba,Lingard,Ravel Morrison and the likes.It wasnt just having a kickabout that made Rashford had the box of tricks that is within his power but it was as a result of obsessive streak, which saw him rack up thousands of hours of playing and watching football. United’s under-16 coach Neil Ryan used to take him to and from training and still remembers how every journey started and finished.
“When I arrived he would be doing tricks outside the house,” he says. “He used to kick the ball on to the roof and then control it with different parts of his body as it came down. When I dropped him off he went straight to the park or watched players like Ronaldo and Messi on TV. Studying them definitely influenced his game.”
Rashford had initially been a traditional right-winger, but such was his talent, he began to play in a variety of attacking roles. At 17, he was ready to play reserve team football, but United made the decision to hold him back so he could continue to learn his goalscoring trade against lesser defenders, in the hope he would have more success and grow in confidence. A first team injury crisis saw him thrown into the starting XI for United’s Europa League round of 32, second leg tie against FC Midtjylland.
He was not known to the fans at that point but that night changed everything as he scored two goals,Rashford’s goals made him Manchester United’s youngest ever scorer in European competition, beating a record previously held by George Best.Then came his Premier League debut against Arsenal three days later; he again scored twice and provided the assist for the other goal in a 3–2 home victory, making him the third youngest scorer for United in Premier League history after Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck, aged just 18 years and 141 days, Rashford made his mark as the youngest ever scorer in a Manchester derby in the Premier League era.
Since then Rashford has made over 100 appearances and scored many goals and he is still only 21. Rashford scored on his England debut in May 2016, becoming the youngest English player to score in his first senior international match and he hasn’t looked back since then.
When he first arrived at United, Rashford often used to watch Cristiano Ronaldo training in the gym at Carrington and he has now added strength and conditioning work to his daily diet of technical training, which has resulted in a more muscular physique which has helped build his technique and make him similar to Cristiano Ronaldo in his way of taking Free kicks and shot at goal.
Rashford is still young and many players has a notch higher in terms of growing and if he keeps working on himself,it would only take a few more years before the whole world start taking a keen eye on the boy from Wynthesawe.
Photos and Quotes Credit: FourFourTwo