5 reasons why the Martial-Rashford combo will be Manchester United's strikeforce in the future
Irrespective of the changes this summer, Rashford and Martial will light up Old Trafford for years.
On 12 September 2015, a young Anthony Martial marked his Manchester United debut with a mazy run and finish to seal victory against arch-rivals Liverpool at Old Trafford. Debuts don't get much better than that – and United fans quickly took the Frenchman to their hearts as he was often the sole spark of excitement in a dull possession-based Louis van Gaal team.
Five months later, in the build-up to the UEFA Europa League Round of 32 return leg tie against FC Midtjylland at Old Trafford, Martial damaged his hamstring in the warm up. Subsequently, an 18-year-old academy forward was elevated to the starting lineup from the substitutes bench. A brace for the evening and another against Arsenal three days later, made Marcus Rashford a household name among the United fans.
Rashford and Martial are genuinely exciting talents on Manchester United's roster. Martial won the Golden Boy award in 2015, while Rashford is among the leading candidates for the prize in 2017. To give you an idea, previous winners of the award include Wayne Rooney, Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Aguero). Sky is the limit for the young duo – not just as a distant future prospect, but as a very real threat for Premier League defences, week in week out.
Here are five reasons why the Martial-Rashford combination will be United's strikeforce now and in the future:
#5 Ibrahimovic and Rooney will leave soon
After 13 years, Wayne Rooney is on the cusp of leaving Old Trafford. He hasn't received the respect he deserves as Manchester United's all-time top goalscorer; perhaps there would have been more of an outcry if he had left five years ago. But make no mistake – there would be a huge set of boots to fill in after Rooney's departure.
Ibrahimovic, meanwhile, has established himself as a firm fan favourite after just one season. He has dragged the club almost single-handedly this season, most memorably with the winner in the League Cup final. His departure, whether it is going to be in two months or a year, would again raise a bunch of questions to answer.
It is, therefore, absolutely imperative that United hold on to Rashford and Martial. The duo has had priceless experience sharing the dressing room and the pitch with Ibrahimovic and Rooney. Their ruthless winner's streak is sure to have rubbed off on the young duo as well – and over the next few years, they need to utilise these experiences to push on their development.