Five years of Marcus Rashford: From unlikely debut double to Man Utd leader

By Sports Desk February 25, 2021

Thursday marks exactly five years since Marcus Rashford exploded onto the scene for Manchester United.

Having been fast-tracked into the first-team squad due to injuries, the then-18-year-old was handed a surprise start against Midtjylland in the Europa League after Anthony Martial was injured in the warm-up.

Rashford responded with two goals in a 5-1 win, both in front of the Stretford End, in a game neither he nor fans have forgotten.

On February 25, 2021, Rashford could well be afforded a rest when United host Real Sociedad at Old Trafford, having scored in the 4-0 first-leg win to put Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side in control of the tie.

The importance of saving Rashford for major games to come is a sign of his status within the squad after five years, three different permanent managers and a single-minded development into an elite forward in the making.

FORMIDABLE

Rashford has played 253 times in all competitions for United, starting 181 of those games. Nobody has played as many for the club since his debut, with David de Gea next on 227 appearances.

The 23-year-old has scored 85 goals – as many as David Beckham managed in his Red Devils career – and provided 38 assists. Again, that's the most of any player in the past five years, with Martial next on 68 goals and 36 assists.

Rashford averages a goal every 198 minutes across his United career, with the vast majority (70) coming from his right foot. Although 75 of his goals have been scored from inside the box, he has scored more often from outside the penalty area (10 times) than he has from the spot itself (nine).

After scoring eight goals in his debut season in 2015-16, Rashford has consistently built on his numbers, with 11, 13 and 13 registered in the following three seasons. Last term was undoubtedly his best, with 22 goals and eight assists in 44 appearances, and he is on target to beat that in 2020-21, having already scored 18 and set up a further nine.

FAVOURITES

Rashford might be happy to be facing Chelsea on Sunday. He has scored five times against the Blues in 12 games, making them his favourite opponents alongside Leicester City (five goals in 11 games).

Rarely one to shy away from the big occasion, Rashford has scored four times against Liverpool and Manchester City, and three against Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Tottenham.

His favourite supporting act is Juan Mata, who has provided the most assists (seven) for Rashford goals, ahead of Martial (six). Perhaps in a sign of United's greater attacking endeavours under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, three of the players to assist Rashford the most (Daniel James and Mason Greenwood with four, and Bruno Fernandes with five) have all made their debuts since the start of last season.

HALL OF FAME

Rashford has been directly involved in 80 goals (53 scored, 27 assisted) in his 167 Premier League appearances to date. That's a better return than David Beckham (77), Ryan Giggs (75) and Paul Scholes (64) managed in their first 167 games in the competition.

He is a little way behind Cristiano Ronaldo, who managed 98 combined goals and assists in his first 167 games in England's top flight, while Rashford's manager Solskjaer recorded 106 goal involvements in those first 167 outings, just behind Andrew Cole (108) and Wayne Rooney (111).

Interestingly, Martial managed more (81) in just his first 165 Premier League appearances. Similarly, Ruud van Nistelrooy needed just 150 Premier League games to provide 109 direct goal involvements, while the great Eric Cantona reached 115 in just 143 games.

Related items

  • LaMarcus Aldridge announces retirement due to heart issue LaMarcus Aldridge announces retirement due to heart issue

    LaMarcus Aldridge has announced his immediate retirement after experiencing a health scare in what turned out to be his final NBA game.

    Aldridge revealed that he played against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday while dealing with an irregular heartbeat – an issue that became worse following the 126-101 defeat for the Brooklyn Nets.

    The seven-time All-Star was listed as out due to a non-COVID-related illness for the Nets' next two outings in the regular season, against the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Now the full extent of the issue has been revealed by the 35-year-old in a statement posted on social media, during which he made clear the time has come to put his health – and also his family – first.

    "Today, I write this letter with a heavy heart. My last game, I played while dealing with an irregular heartbeat. Later on that night, my rhythm got even worse, which really worried me even more," Aldridge explained.

    "The next morning, I told the team what was going on and they were great getting me to the hospital and getting me checked out. Though I’m better now, what I felt with my heart that night was still one of the scariest things I’ve experienced.

    "With that being said, I've made the difficult decision to retire from the NBA. For 15 years, I've put basketball first, and now it is time to put my health and family first."

    Aldridge had only joined the Nets at the end of March as a free agent, averaging 12.8 points in five games after agreeing a contract buyout with the San Antonio Spurs.

    However, the second overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in the 2006 draft spent the majority of his career with the Portland Trail Blazers, scoring 12,562 points to sit third on the franchise's all-time list.

    Signed by the Spurs ahead of the 2015-16 season, Aldridge helped San Antonio reach the Western Conference Finals in 2017, though they were swept by the Golden State Warriors in that series.

    "I'm thankful for everything this game has given me: the great memories, including all the ups and downs, and the friendships I've made and will keep with me forever," Aldridge continued.

    "I thank Portland for drafting a skinny Texas kid and giving him a chance. The city of Portland has given me some unforgettable years.

    "They will always remain in my heart. I want to thank the Spurs for letting me into the family and giving me five fun years.

    "Last but not least, I want to thank Brooklyn. You wanted me for me. In a game that's changing so much, you asked me to come and just do what I do, which was good to hear. I’m sorry it didn't get to last long, but I've definitely had fun being a part of this special group.

    "You never know when something will come to an end, so make sure you enjoy it every day. I can truly say I did just that."

    Aldridge played in 1,029 NBA games and finishes up averaging 19.4 points and 8.2 rebounds. 

  • Tottenham's top-four hopes do not rest on Everton clash, insists Mourinho Tottenham's top-four hopes do not rest on Everton clash, insists Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho insists Tottenham's hopes of a top-four Premier League finish will not be over if they fail to beat Everton on Friday. 

    Sunday's 3-1 home defeat to Manchester United left Spurs in seventh, six points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham. 

    That result meant Tottenham have dropped 18 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, with only Brighton and Hove Albion (20) losing more. 

    They will hope to bounce back from that disappointment against an Everton side who are also in the hunt for a Champions League qualification spot, with Carlo Ancelotti's men just a point and a place behind Spurs, having played a game less. 

    Mourinho acknowledged it is an important game for both sides, but the Portuguese believes there is ample time for Spurs to claw their way back into top-four contention if they do not return to London with all three points. 

    "We are very close, but there are more clubs around, with a few more points, some others with a few less," he said.

    "With more than 20 points on the table, it's still open. The winner gets the points and stops the loser. 

    "Understandably, I don't think anything is going to be decided but if one of the two teams wins and gets an advantage that can be important in the direct duel, not in relation to all the others around.

    "This match is very important as the distance between the two teams is very short. Of course, they have one match in hand. 

    "The distance is short. They have similar objectives. They are going to fight with us to try and get the best possible position and see if we and them can get a European position. It's an important match."

    Tottenham are unbeaten in their last seven away league games against Everton (W3 D4), while the Toffees have won just one of their last eight Premier League home games (D2 L5).

    Despite this, Mourinho is well aware of the threat they pose to his side. 

    "They are going in the right direction," he added. "They've got a big coach; one of the best in the world. They've got important players and they've got a very good squad. It's just the beginning for them. 

    "Of course, this Everton is different from previous seasons. Nobody better than Carlo. I see a very good future. They have everything. They didn't play in Europe, they had complete weeks to work and develop. 

    "They can play in different systems. They have talent in attack. Quality in midfield. Physicality behind. They have a tactical culture. They have a very good combination."

  • Kudela ban is 'pinnacle of hypocrisy', says senior Czech politican Kudela ban is 'pinnacle of hypocrisy', says senior Czech politican

    Ondrej Kudela's 10-game UEFA ban for "racist behaviour" was designed to "fulfill the perverted expectations of a small group of activists," according to a senior politician in the Czech Republic. 

    Slavia Prague's Kudela was sanctioned on Wednesday after initially receiving a one-match ban by UEFA's Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body for "insulting players or others present at the match" after an altercation with Rangers' Glen Kamara. 

    Kudela and Slavia strenuously denied the accusations levelled by Kamara in March, with the Czech Republic international alleged to have made a racist comment while covering his mouth towards the end of an ill-tempered round-of-16 second leg that Rangers lost 2-0, eliminating them from the competition.

    Slavia accused Kamara of attacking Kudela inside the stadium after the game and UEFA also took action against the Rangers midfielder, suspending him for three games. 

    Vratislav Mynar, head of the office of the president of the Czech Republic, has responded furiously to Kudela's suspension, describing it as "the pinnacle of hypocrisy". 

    "I note that racism is unproven and alleged," he wrote in an open letter to UEFA on the president of the Czech Republic's official website. 

    "The UEFA inspector himself questioned that Ondrej Kudela had made a racist statement. Nevertheless, you have decided on a completely unprecedented punishment for a player who did not harm anyone and only verbally – according to his statement – offended his opponent. 

    "You condemn a decent person without a single piece of evidence. All this just to fulfill the perverted expectations of a small group of activists and a club unable to win on the field, all the more so by shouting empty and hurtful phrases about racism.

    "In your submission, the fight against racism has become the fight of the unsuccessful against the successful, the pinnacle of hypocrisy and positive discrimination.

    "Your efforts can lead to the opposite; a situation where a person with a colour other than black will be discriminated against, oppressed and deprived of their rights. That is why I also consider it necessary to oppose this procedure."

    Mynar also said Czech president, Milos Zeman, was aware of the incident and considers it to be an important issue of "human dignity".

    "I very much appreciate the fact that the Czech public does not identify with your verdict, across the whole society." he added. "On the contrary, even if only for a short time, you have managed to unite ancient rivals. We will not kneel before you and no threats apply to the Czech football fan.

    "The president of the Republic, Milos Zeman, is acquainted with the situation in detail and considers it important not only from the point of view of sport, but also from the point of view of justice and human dignity. 

    "It expresses belonging to all citizens of the Czech Republic who follow this case and are disappointed during it. At the same time, he wishes all players and fans not to be discouraged by the whole affair and to continue to support their team so valiantly."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.