On the 30th October 1937 academy graduates, Tom Manely and Jack Wassall were included in Manchester United’s matchday squad away to Fulham. Exactly 85 years later with over 4000 games passing Marcus Rashford scored his 100th goal for the club. A remarkable achievement for both Rashford and United, a true mark of the club’s values and dedication to developing youth players.
The last few years have seen little success come to Old Trafford when compared to the standards Sir Alex Ferguson set during his tenure, both in the first team and the academy. Rashford is the first player since Wayne Rooney to score 100 goals for the club, showing the shining light and constant figure he’s been during United’s dark ages.Embed from Getty Images
Thrown into the starting line-up at the age of 18 and living what many of us dream of. Two goals on his debut in the Europa League against FC Midtjylland and another two on his Premier League debut against Arsenal three days later. Scoring on your debut is one thing, but becoming a regular starter for one of the biggest clubs in world football is another. Rashford’s stature at the club has grown season on season, from #39 to #19 to #10 and for good reason. A big game player, six goals against Liverpool, five goals against Chelsea, four winning goals beyond the 90th minute (the most in Premier League history) amongst other incredible moments like the unforgettable night in Paris and becoming the youngest ever goal scorer in a Manchester derby.
The journey to reach this point has been far from smooth sailing for Marcus Rashford. A double stress fracture in the 19/20 season halted his best run of form to date that saw him score 16 goals in 20 games. The following season Rashford put up good numbers, but his performances waned as he tried to manage a shoulder injury while being an integral part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
The summer of 2021 sparked a chain of events that spiralled into the lowest point of Rashford’s career so far. The miss in the final of Euro 2020 after hardly featuring in England’s historic run, due to injury, saw him subject to racial abuse online. The following season after coming back from surgery Rashford found a United team in dire constraints and struggled to get back to his best. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who oversaw Rashford’s best seasons at the club, was sacked shortly after and the winger’s performances hit rock bottom as he looked devoid of confidence under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.Embed from Getty Images
But Rashford’s mentality is too strong to let those performances become the norm. After a summer training camp at Nike Headquarters and a good preseason with new manager Erik ten Hag, Rashford speaks on being in a better ‘headspace’ and looks confident and motivated. Rashford has always said that in the academy they told him to ‘express himself’ and he seems to be back doing that within Erik ten Hag’s system with seven goals and three assists in all competitions so far this season. Since Sir Alex Ferguson left many elite forwards have been signed to solve United’s attacking issues, but Rashford has shown once again that the cream of La Carrington always rises to the top.