By Andy Jones
- Rashford has started the last eight games
- Scoring five goals in those eight games
- Will Rashford be an Owen or a Macheda?
After his Derby day heroics, few could begrudge Marcus Rashford a place in Derby history as the youngest ever goalscorer at 18 years and 141 days.
Many United fans would never have heard of the kid 2 months ago, seemingly way down in the pecking order behind Wilson, keane, Martial and Rooney, he only got his debut due to Martial picking up a knock in the warm up against FC Midtjylland, but ceased his chance in sensational fashion scoring 2 goals in a 5-1 victory.
He has led the line since that memorable debut, occasionally he has been shunted out wide, using his pace and acceleration to trouble opponents. It is as a striker though where he has really excelled, bagging another brace in the 3-2 win over Arsenal.
With Rooney surely coming to the end of his United career, there is a vacancy at the club for a top class striker, but is the answer right under the clubs noses?
Spending big money on big names hasn’t always proven to be the successful formula. Falcao and Di Maria at United, Bony at Manchester City, Shevchenko at Chelsea and Benteke at Liverpool have all failed to live up to their big price tags.
Whilst not as glamourous and certainly not grabbing the headlines, a young player coming through the ranks of the club is often over looked.
Michael Owen was unheard of to anyone outside of Anfield when he burst onto the Premier league in 1997 and went onto to score an impressive 118 goals in 216 appearances, and was the joint top goal scorer in the league in his first season.
Alan Shearer was a youth team player at Southampton when he became the youngest player to score a top flight hat-trick aged just 17 years and 240 days when he scored that hat-trick against Arsenal.
The current Premier top goalscorer is Harry Kane, a product of Arsenal, Watford and now Spurs youth team and valued at over 50 million.
Clearly for every Harry Kane and Michael Owen there is a Macheda and a Francis Jeffers, yes its a risk but one worth taking. You could also argue that Van Gaal has discovered Rashford more through good fortune than good management.
Would he have even featured so soon in his career has it not been for injuries to Rooney, Keane and Martial, plus the sale of Hernandez and loan of Wilson to Brighton.
Van Gaal will probably claim it was all part of the process. Will Rashford succeed where Danny Welbeck failed? He looks a much more composed finisher in front of goal, the winner against City had more than a hint of Thierry Henry, cooling passing the ball beyond Joe Hart, having just megged the hapless Demichelis.
For all Welbecks hard work and running, his goal return is poor for a player who has featured for both United and Arsenal, just 27 goals in 122 appearances. United fans will surely remember when he foolishly tried to chip an onrushing Neuer and the ball calmly dropped into the keepers hands.
Only time will tell if Rashford will make the position his own in years to come, he is there on merit currently, and with Rooney’s return imminent after the International break, Van Gaal has a crucial decision to make, with Champions League qualification and the FA Cup hopes still alive.