The numbers behind Marcus Rashford.
Ever since Marcus Rashford joined the Manchester United academy at the mere age of seven, Rashford was seen as a prodigious striker and was longing to make his first-team debut. He was highly regarded as one of the fastest and the most skilful youngster in the academy ranks and people would say that he would make it through the first team football at a very young age and would surpass many records. He is someone who grew up watching Brazillian Ronaldo and admired his style of play. Rashford always wanted to emulate Ronaldo's carefree game style and watched a lot of his games during his childhood days.
There is an old saying - ' Good things come to those who persevere and are patient for their opportunities'. When the opportunity really arrived, Rashford broke into international arena grabbed it with both hands. He was given a debut by Louis Van Gaal and he scored twice in both his first team debut in the UEFA Europa League and in his first Premier League match in February 2016 against Arsenal. He also scored in his first Manchester Derby Match, his first League cup match and his first UEFA Champions League match. The goals didn't just stop there, he was promoted to England first team and was called up for International duty in May 2016 and scored on his England debut, becoming the youngest English player to score in his first senior international match.
He is fast, can dribble past defenders and is a courageous shooter from the long range too. His abilities didn't get unnoticed and he was used as a starter or an impact substitute on a regular basis by Mourinho too. His performances at such a tender age have impressed a lot of pundits and he gets commended every now and then for his spectacular performances at the highest levels. This impressed the club hierarchy so much that he was handed the number '10' jersey previously donned by club and England legend 'Rooney'.
Although he wasn't used as much as he should've been in the England international team and was regularly subbed for Sterling, Rashford kept working hard and made use of whatever opportunities were coming his way.H e has impressed so much at the age of 20 that football pundits are circling around Rashford with their rants to leave Manchester United for more first-team football elsewhere. They believe that Mourinho is not giving Rashford ample opportunities to grow as a footballer and Rashford should rather look for first-team football elsewhere.
Manchester United are going through turbulent times where fans are constantly looking out for someone to blame for their club's poor performances. Mourinho and Ed Woodward are constantly at the receiving end of the fan's backlash every now and then. Pogba's rift with the manager makes headlines every day. It was as if these problems weren't enough that pundits came calling for Rashford to leave the club too. This didn't go down well with Mourinho.
In one of his recent interviews, Mourinho took out a sheet to defend the ongoing speculations about his ill-treatment of Rashford and poured out some remarkable numbers -
"On the season 16-17 Marcus Rashford played 32 Premier League matches, 11 Europa League matches, including the final, three FA Cup matches, six League Cup matches including the final and the Community Shield. He had 53 appearances but if you want to take to the minutes of play, he played 3,068 and if you want to divide that by 90 minutes of the matches, he played 34.2 matches of 90 minutes.
In 17-18, he played 35 Premier League matches, eight in Champions League, five in FA Cup including the final, three League Cup matches and the European Super Cup final. He played a total of 52 matches with 2,676 minutes, if you divide that by 90, it gives 29.7 matches, so with me, in two seasons, he had 105 appearances, 5,744 minutes, 63.7 matches of 90 minutes, including five finals, so the people that is speaking about these minutes, I think they are a bit confused.”
These are spectacular numbers for someone who is just 20 years old and is fighting for first-team football against the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial. This is indeed a remarkable achievement for someone of his age and the kid should be commended for showing the calibre to fight for first-team football against the best forwards in the world at one of the best clubs in the world.
Although he is currently suspended and will start his three-match suspension when Manchester United face Watford on Saturday, his two goals in two matches for England on international duty show that he has the strength needed to overcome tiny roadblocks that come in his way too. For someone to put on the England shirt and score two goals in two matches even after coming from the back of a three-match suspension in the Premier League shows his mental strength.
It can't be answered indefinite words whether Rashford will get regular first-team football under Jose Mourinho but one thing is for sure, his hard work and perseverance will definitely take him a long way and he is going to become someone big in the football world.