The Big Interview: Rashford is made in Manchester
What is it like being Marcus Rashford? Inside United magazine recently sat down with our homegrown hero to reflect on his rise through the ranks and a fledgling career that already encompasses over 100 appearances, four trophies and a blaze of memorable goals…
To be fair, I didn’t really think about it that much because it happened so fast. You’re just playing games and trying to win every one, so when you do get to that 100th game, or 100th start or whatever, it’s something that seems to have come very fast, because you can remember your first game like it was yesterday.
At the start of the season did you set yourself any targets in terms of appearances and goals and, with only a few league games to go, how are those targets looking?
I wouldn’t say targets because there are a lot of things that can influence a target. If you set a target and then you get an injury, or a setback in any way, then it’s almost saying that that target is out of the window. You do have a target in the back of your mind, but it’s never the main thing because you’re not in complete control. So, for me, it’s just about playing the games and trying to help the team win as many as I can. If you do that, then nine times out of 10 you reach the targets that you had in mind.
Rashford is Red Gallery
Marcus was a natural during his Inside United photoshoot.
It’s always quite a fast-tempo game against them and this wasn’t any different. They were pressing well and we were sticking to our game plan and it just worked. When the first goal came, it happened fast. I didn’t really have much time to think about it. I had a picture in my mind of what I was going to do and then just executed it. The second one, I had a little more time – I had seen the ball coming back to me and where the keeper was running, so I knew I could put it back to where he came from. The roar was crazy, but it always is against them. I remember when Zlatan scored last year against Liverpool, everyone went crazy!
How pleased are you for your mate Jesse and the season he’s having?
Just the final thing. He’s always been a top player and the movements that he makes off the ball are terrific. But I think now he’s getting the final thing – whether it’s a goal or an assist – and it’s something that we’ve spoken about in the past. Now it’s coming together for him, so I couldn’t be happier for him because when you work so hard on something and then you don’t score the finish at the end or you don’t make the right pass at the end it’s hard to take. Now he’s getting it right all the time.
What is the best thing about him as a mate?
He’s always on the up, you know. He’s the person that you want to be around whether you’ve won a game or lost a game because he’s going to bring you back up and he’ll make you forget about that game and concentrate on the next one. In the team, you have to have that sort of mindset, otherwise you dwell on results for too long.
I think it does. A lot of people have that dream, so you’re not only doing it for you; you’re doing it for a lot of people that you might not even know, but there are a lot of people who had the dream of playing for their local team when they were young. So I think you are playing not only for yourself and for the club, but for all the people that are living that dream through you.
Away from football, what is your main passion? Is there something that helps to take your mind off the pressures of the season?
I’m quite chilled out, but if my friends want to do something then we can do that, or most of the time if I want to do something we just relax and do that. We enjoy playing snooker, but it’s not an everyday thing.
How did your interest in snooker come about?
I’ve always enjoyed playing pool since I was quite young. Snooker is quite a recent thing. We just thought we’d have go, because pool was getting a bit easy! [Laughs] Everyone was just winning straight away [after the break] so we thought we’d try snooker.
What’s your maximum break?
Do you know what… it’s not been great! I think one of my first games was one of my highest breaks, it was around 57, which is decent.
What is an average day for you, off the pitch? Talk us through a day off...
If we get two days off, then the first day I’d maybe go into the centre, maybe go to the cinema in the evening and go out for food. And then maybe the next day would be a day to go to something like snooker. That’s if it’s two days, but if it’s one day you can’t really do much because you don’t want to get tired for the training the next day.
Is it still fairly easy to wander about town? Do you get recognised a lot?
I don’t really go out as much as I used to now. Most of the time after training you’re tired and you have to rest and recover because the next day in training is going to be difficult as well. It’s not that you don’t want to go out; it’s just that the rest is of such huge importance. But it’s good being able to enjoy things like going into the town centre, going to the Trafford Centre, going to sports shops or whatever it may be. There are a lot of things that you can pick and choose from, so if you’re new to the city, you’ve always got something to do.
Yeah, but not so much in the park! There’s not enough time, but whether it’s at my house or their houses, we’ve always got a football. It’s a bit more difficult now because obviously everyone’s got jobs and everyone’s a bit busier and got things to do, but when we have time we do. They still try and put the ball through my legs and stuff like that! [Laughs]
You appear very level-headed and modest – are you aware of that or are you just going about things the way you would if you weren't a footballer and in the public eye?
I think it’s the way I was brought up, by my mum and my brothers. I’ve always been like that since I was young. We’ve always known that there was a chance of this happening, so my brother’s been preparing me for this moment for a long time. So when it happens, you have to embrace it, because at the end of it, it’s all going to go away. So I have to embrace it.
When it comes to this stage of the season, are you already looking ahead to the next campaign?
Not yet. I think our main focus now is finishing second in the league. That’s important for us, and winning the FA Cup. If those two things happen, then we’ve took what we can out of the season at this point. They’re the most important things.
FROM MANCHESTER TO MOSCOW
Rashford’s full focus is on a strong finish to the season for United, but once the final whistle blows on the domestic campaign, his thoughts will turn to his first World Cup finals tournament, in Russia…
Looking ahead to the summer, how buzzing are you about the prospect of playing at a World Cup?
The England squad’s quite young, so there’s just a massive bundle of excitement buzzing around. Everyone’s excited to just go there and do as best as we can.
You were England’s youngest ever player in the European Championships last time – are you glad to have got that first experience under your belt and feel even more prepared?
It was a tough experience, but you learn things the easy way and sometimes the hard way. That was definitely a hard way to learn something about tournaments, but whichever way it happens you have to take it in your stride and either recover from it or continue to do the same thing.
Made in Manchester ©️ pic.twitter.com/BesjeJuUXz— Marcus Rashford (@MarcusRashford) March 28, 2018
How does the feeling compare when you pull on an England jersey and a United jersey?
They are both filled with a huge amount of pride. It’s not only for me, but the dreams of my friends and family and that’s what I think about when I’m playing or before I’m playing. I’m not only playing for me, I’m playing for my brothers, my sisters, my friends and a lot of people who I don’t know, whose dream was to play for United and England.
What has Gareth Southgate brought to the set-up?
He’s brought a massive amount of freedom, especially to the forward players, but it’s within a structure. So we have a baseline and we know what we’re doing. We know what our individual roles are and we still need to learn and develop that. But yeah, it’s enjoyable playing under him and we just hope for the most success possible in the World Cup.
Have you allowed yourself to daydream about scoring a winning goal in the World Cup final?
Not so much yet! [Smiles] I don’t like to think so far ahead because there are a lot of games before, hopefully, we get to that stage. It’s just about preparing well for the tournament, but before that you have to perform well at your club to get selected.
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