As Marcus Rashford approaches his twenty-first birthday, Jose Mourinho has reflected on the youngster's career at Manchester United so far and assessed how much he could still accomplish.
In his pre-match press conference for the Reds' Premier League fixture against Everton, the boss spoke of Rashford being in a privileged position for his age, given the experience of international and European club football he has already gained.
“Twenty-one years old for some players means zero matches in the first team,” said Jose.
“For the majority of them, it means a squad player that plays a few minutes during the season.
”For Marcus Rashford, that means a player, I think, with more appearances [than any team-mate] in the past two years. It means playing in a World Cup, two seasons of the Champions League, a Europa League final, two FA Cup finals, a Carabao Cup final.
“He has had experiences and opportunities to develop himself that, at his age, can only be compared with the fantastic players who also made their breakthrough at a very, very young age.”
In 2016, Rashford introduced himself to the United faithful in style as the then 18-year-old scored a brace for the Reds against Midtjylland in the Europa League and quickly followed up with another double against Arsenal in his Premier League bow. He won the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year trophy at the club's end-of-season awards at Old Trafford.
Since then, Marcus has gone on to make 84 league appearances with a return of 18 goals and nine assists, with the manager admitting that the Mancunian forward has laid the foundations for a fantastic career after all he has achieved so far.
“I think he's a privileged player, a privileged kid or, if you want to say now, a man, that has had so many opportunities to develop himself and he's going to keep having them,” said Jose.
“So I think he has the conditions for his career to explode in the positive way of the word, conditions that not many players have during their careers.”
Many have compared the rise of Rashford to that of a former United great, Wayne Rooney. When asked about a comparison between the two, the boss admitted that while parallels can be drawn between the starts of their respective careers, it'll be what happens in the future that will determine whether Marcus will be held in the same regard as Rooney.
“This is the kind of thing that I think is not good for him,” said Mourinho.
“By one side he has a fantastic range of opportunities to develop himself, by another side he has always this kind of situation surrounding him and probably that is not the best thing for him.
”Rooney did it. Marcus didn't. It's like comparing somebody with an amazing career, with amazing numbers, with a young player whose only similar thing so far was the start. The start was similar, but now let's see how it ends. So I don't think Marcus needs this kind of comparison. Rooney is Rooney, Marcus is Marcus.
RASHFORD'S CAREER SO FAR IN NUMBERS
- 132 appearances for United across four campaigns.
- 33 goals in domestic and European competitions.
- 9 goals scored for England, including one on his debut against Australia.
- 4 trophies won with the Reds (Europa League, FA Cup, Carabao Cup, Community Shield)
- 4 goalscoring competition debuts in the Europa League, Premier League, Carabao Cup and Champions League
- 1 Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award, won in 2016
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