Why we should be showing Rashford more love
In the week that he celebrates five years as a Manchester United first-team player, it’s easy to take Marcus Rashford’s contributions for granted.
If the 23-year-old’s charity work has – deservedly – dominated the column inches, if not acres, over the past year, there’s a sense that Marcus’s productivity and consistency on the field still aren’t quite being fully recognised.
Rashford’s strike against Newcastle, slammed in at the near post after the elongated torment dealt out to the Magpies’ right-back Emil Krafth, took him to 18 goals for the season, which is just four shy of last campaign’s total.
Add in the 10 assists (according to FBRef.com) Marcus has provided for his team-mates and that takes him to 28 goal involvements in 39 games.
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Remember, it’s still February and, due to the late start to the campaign, we’re still a couple of league fixtures behind where we’d usually be at this time of year.
If those figures aren’t quite convincing enough, or you argue that this season is an anomaly, try this fact, from football stat experts OptaJoe, out for size:
“Marcus Rashford's opener [against Newcastle] was his 40th goal in all competitions since the beginning of last season, with only Raheem Sterling (44), Harry Kane (45) and Mohamed Salah (47) managing more amongst all Premier League players. Consistency.”
Barring Sergio Aguero and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who have struggled with injuries recently, that trio arguably represents the Premier League gold standard for goalscoring, and it’s not bad company for Marcus to be keeping, especially considering that, since Bruno Fernandes’s arrival, he doesn’t take penalties and also missed two months of 2019/20 with a back injury.
Rashford’s place on United’s all-time goalscoring list, when he is still eight months shy of his 24th birthday, also speaks volumes.
The England international overtook the great Eric Cantona when finding the net against Southampton earlier this month, and his individual effort on Sunday drew him level, on 85 goals, with another name etched into Reds folklore.
David Beckham took 394 games to reach that number, scoring in his final appearance for the club in 2003, while Rashford has made it in just 253. He's now firmly ensconced in the top 25 of our rankings and could move even further up before the season is out.
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The immediate target is a half-century under the current manager: our no.10 has hit 49 of his United strikes while playing for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, which is 15 more than any other player.
And it’s clear when speaking to Marcus that he always has one eye on his personal statistics – which is always a good sign of a ruthless forward.
“I think you’ve taken a few assists off there!” he joked when we quoted his goal involvement stats to him during a recent United Review interview.
“I’m not sure, everyone says different numbers [for assists], but you just take it game by game.
“I think my job as a forward is to work hard for the team and just try to provide as many goals and assists as I can. They’re the things that win you games.
“I have to just stay concentrated on that throughout the season.”
We love that dedication!
Keep your eyes peeled for our Rashford and Dean Henderson exclusive later this week, as the pair discuss their memories of Marcus’s debut v Midtjylland.