Manchester United Youth Rankings 2016 #6 -Marcus Rashford

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Note-This article was initially written 2 months ago before Rashford made his first team debut.

This is the fourth post in a series of 10, where reddit users /u/monsieurryan and/u/rdzzl have rated the ten best players playing for Manchester United’s youth teams.The previous posts include #10, Joe Riley, #9, Demetri Mitchell , #8, Tosin Kehinde and #7 Sean Goss.

Rashford’s name was elevated into Manchester United fans conscience after being named on the bench against Watford in November. Some say it was simply to make up the numbers but he has been leading the front line at both u18 and u21 levels very well over the past 2 seasons and was rewarded with a first team place. He is finally becoming comfortable at the striker position converting from more of a wide forward or second striker role. He is still getting familiar with the striker position but his time out wide has helped him with dribbling ability and pace. A growth spurt (not necessarily in height) could do him when as he needs a bit more bulk on him to muscle out bigger defenders in the future. Although maybe not as a prolific of a goalscorer as James Wilson was at the youth levels he is just as big of a talent. Marcus is a local lad from Manchester which might be why there were rumors of City trying to lure him to the blue side of Manchester just this past season./u/monsieurryan

An under-appreciated quality of Marcus’ is in my opinion his presence on the pitch. I don’t mean that in a Ronaldo type of way, but rather how he’ll often be the one making a slide tackle in midfield that sets off a counter-attack, or the guy pressing the full-back into hoofing the ball forward, ending in a turnover for our team. I think the first minute or twoof this video shows that perfectly. Marcus has got quick feet, a good strike and is cunning. You’ll often see him try the unexpected on the ball, either with a dribble, a pass, or a shot. This makes him unpredictable for the opponent, and a player you can not forget about. In the same video linked above, you get to see some slick technique used to beat players combined with his pace. However, a few things set him apart from many youth team attackers of his sort: first, he does not hesitate to lay it off or to cross it if there is a team mate in a better position. This means that he does not have as many goals as he could have, however I am sure the management appreciates this attitude. Second, he has an attitude about him. You know how Martial has an attitude about him? Or how Januzaj, Schweinsteiger and a lot of other players do? Rashford has one as well. I am not sure how much this means for the progress of a player, but in my mind – it is a sign of confidence in themselves. I see it as a sure way of expecting that the player wants to express themselves on the pitch, something fans tend to love. In sum, I think his biggest quality is that he has many. He is a force to be reckoned with on the pitch. He’ll make well-timed runs between lines or off the shoulder of defenders, he’ll initiate quick 1-2s, he’ll try the cheeky through-ball, shot, or dribble. He must be very painful to play against. You never know what to expect. In many ways, I hope a player like Demetri Mitchell is taking notes on how Marcus has developed, and follows in his footsteps.

“One we saw starting to emerge as he grew into his body more was Marcus Rashford,” stated Paul McGuinness. “He put some exciting parts of games together and we saw some exciting things. He’s emerging and starting to do more.”

For now, it is all about looking for that next step in the development. Making progress, taking the game to another level. Marcus definitely has most of the qualities needed to break through, at least in the way we see him play for our youth teams. I find this article to be very interesting. Give it a read. It says a lot about our hopes for him, as we seem to be willing to put in extra effort to guide him to those levels. Hopefully we’ll see his goal tally increase over the course of the season. I hope he can stay away from injuries, as he is (arguably) one of the best players on this list and could have been higher on it if his statistics were following his performances. Keep an eye out for Marcus Rashford in the months and years to come.

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