Marcus Rashford has signed a new and improved contract at Manchester United, keeping him at the club until 2020, with the option of a further year.
The teenager, still just 18, rose to prominence in February’s Europa League Round of 32 tie against FC Midtjylland after being thrown in at the deep end after Anthony Martial’s injury in the warm-up.
Having trailed 2-1 from the first leg and conceding the opening goal on the night, United equalised before half-time.
Cue Rashford, who bagged a well-taken brace in the space of 11 second half minutes in front of the Stretford End, as United progressed 6-3 on aggregate.
A star was born, but with a mouthwatering proposition against Arsenal in the league just three days later, surely Rashford would have been rested.
This wasn’t the case, with Louis van Gaal entrusting the striker once more, and the Dutchman was rewarded, as the academy starlet bagged another brace in United’s 3-2 victory over Arsene Wenger’s side.
A five match goal drought then followed as United went through a sticky patch during March.
But after scoring on his first team debut and Premier League debut, Rashford left Martin Demichelis helpless on the floor, as he glided past the veteran defender to score on his Manchester derby debut, a goal that secured United’s first win at the Etihad Stadium since 2012.
Saving himself for the big games, a tight contest in the FA Cup quarter-final replay at Upton Park burst into life when Rashford’s neat feet and remarkable top corner finish broke the deadlock as United went on to win 2-1 in a competition they would eventually lift.
His impressive 8 goals in 17 appearances saw him called up to Roy Hodgson’s provisional squad for the European Championships this summer.
It took just 138 seconds into his debut at international level, where Rashford volleyed home against Australia to become the nation’s youngster ever debutant scorer, breaking Tommy Lawton’s 78-year record in the process.
This led to his inclusion in the final 23-man squad, with many tipping him to make the same impact as Michael Owen at the ’98 World Cup, also in France.
However, burnout issues have been mentioned, with some believing that this has come too soon, where Rashford could suffer the same injury-plagued and fatigued careers as Owen and to an extent Wayne Rooney have, after being thrust into action too soon, playing too many games so young.
Negatives aside, Rashford’s attitude, pace, movement, agility, balance, awareness and link-up play are just some of the attributes that will have United fans are on the edge of their seats for years to come after this news.
He doesn’t turn 19 until October, and he is at the right club to continue his development going forward.