Marcus Rashford was thrust into the senior spotlight in February 2016 – with spectacular results – and he has not looked back since.
A man with the happy knack of scoring on his debut, he was initially handed a first-team baptism in the Europa League against Midtjylland and duly scored twice, a feat he remarkably repeated three days later on his league bow against Arsenal.
He quickly became a regular, starting 18 of the 2015/16 season's final 19 games and scoring eight goals along the way, including a famous winner at Manchester City and a crucial FA Cup goal at West Ham. Finishing the season as an FA Cup winner – and with a place in England's Euro 2016 squad to boot – capped an incredible breakthrough for Rashford.
Remarkably, he had only enjoyed a brief spell with the Reserves, scoring once, at Leicester City, even if his form for the Under-18s and particularly in the UEFA Youth League had been more spectacular.
Rashford also scored on his England bow, after just two minutes of the 2-1 friendly win over Australia at Sunderland's Stadium of Light, becoming the youngest man to score on his England debut, beating Tommy Lawton's 1938 feat.
The 18-year-old striker subsequently became the Three Lions' youngest player at a European Championship when he came on in the 2-1 win over Wales on 16 June 2016; the record had been held by Wayne Rooney since Euro 2004.
In May 2016, Rashford signed a new contract to keep him at United until at least June 2020 with an option to extend for a further year, and English football’s most exciting young talent further enhanced his reputation in the 2016/17 season. It wasn’t so much his 11 goals that caught the eye, though; rather the amount of matches he was involved in – 53 in all competitions, more than anyone else in red.
Once again he proved to be Mourinho’s go-to man in the 2017/18 campaign, reaching the turn of the year as the only player to have taken part in all 31 of United’s matches across all competitions from August to December, a remarkable level of trust shown in one so young.
In the new year, Rashford proved he could be called upon on the big occasions with a dazzling first half display against Liverpool, where the youngster bagged a brace in a 2-1 victory for the Reds.