Why Rashford ran to Henderson on his debut

Wednesday 24 February 2021 10:30

Marcus Rashford and Dean Henderson have been reflecting on a memorable night at Old Trafford, five years ago this Thursday (25 February), when Rashford made it a goalscoring Manchester United debut and the celebrations involved Dean in the crowd.

Our no.10 was famously drafted into the starting XI for the Europa League clash against FC Midtjylland in 2016 when Anthony Martial was injured in the warm-up.

The Reds were 2-1 down from the first leg of the Round-of-32 clash, but ran out eventual 6-3 winners on aggregate thanks to a 5-1 victory at Old Trafford, which included two debut goals for Rashford.

The then 18-year-old netted twice in 12 minutes in the second half at the Stretford End – and celebrated by running to Henderson in the crowd.

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The pair recently sat down for a joint interview, with Dean posing the questions to Marcus, as they both reflected on a night of great pride.

“You were in the crowd,” recalls Marcus, when asked by his team-mate about his standout memories of the occasion. “The Academy get particular seats and they'd just moved you. They used to be high up, the tickets, but not long after I started training with the first team the seats moved to the Family Stand.

“I just knew that there were people there and as I was running I just saw you and you grabbed me! [Laughs] Great memories. That’s probably the bit I remember the most. I remember the goals and stuff and how they happened, but other than that I don’t really remember the game itself. I just remember certain moments.”

Adding his own recollections of Marcus's United bow, Dean said: “Growing up with you for the last few years and seeing you come onto the pitch was just great.

“I had a huge amount of pride seeing you on there and when the ball fell to you and you hit it, I was just buzzing. And for the second goal you ran straight to the same place; it was fantastic. We spoke about it the next day and I was still buzzing and I wanted to know what it was like to play out there.”

Marcus continues: “It’s because we’ve watched so many games there and that’s all you’re doing: wondering what it’s like to be on the pitch.”

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During the fascinating sit-down interview between the pair, they look back on being named in the same squad together for the first time against Ipswich for United’s Under-15s, with Henderson in goal and Rashford on the bench.

The duo also spent happy times at Ashton-on-Mersey School while training with the Reds and Rashford says the 'United way' is something that was instilled into both of them from a young age in the Academy.

“All the way, it [the United way] is ingrained into you and that’s how you know if someone can play for United,” explained Marcus.

Addressing Dean, he added: “You, for example, when you came in, you found it dead easy to just settle in and you understood what the club stands for and what it meant and, for me, that’s a big sign when we sign young players – they have to be able to fit in to what United is.

“For me, it was just about them ingraining it into me from very young. For yourself, it’s a bit different because you came into it and had to adapt, but you did.

“We all wanted to win. The environment here creates winners. That strong bond is probably why a lot of our age group have made their debut here and are still at the club here, or they have gone to do well at other clubs. It's about that togetherness [growing up].”