On the 25 February 2016, Marcus Rashford’s life changed forever, with the Manchester United youngster scoring twice on a debut no one saw coming.
The striker was an unknown 18-year-old when he was named in Louis van Gaal’s starting line-up for the Europa League clash with FC Midtjylland. But 90 minutes later Rashford had a brace and United fans had yet another youngster to get excited about.
This was not a Federico Macheda moment. Rashford was the real deal and the two goals he scored against Arsenal three days later proved that in emphatic style.
Since then the forward has racked up a total of 126 appearances for United, scoring 32 goals and providing 17 assists in the process. But, despite still being only 20, murmurs persist that Rashford is at the wrong club; that the presence of Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez at Old Trafford is holding him back.
United fans know how absurd that suggestion is. After all, Rashford has featured regularly under Jose Mourinho and is only going to get better with age. But he does still need to take his chances, starting this evening against Young Boys.
Rashford is a confirmed starter for United’s opening Champions League game of the campaign, and he should be doing all he can to channel that European debut, when he shocked the world and proved to be – albeit briefly – un-droppable.
Young Boys will not be pushovers, but United will expect to win the clash relatively comfortably and Rashford – who is one match into a three-game domestic suspension – must take this chance to follow up on his recent England performances.
United fans know what Rashford can do in Europe, and he already has three goals and two assists in just eight Champions League outings. But tonight is the night when he needs to be at his best, replicating or bettering that heady night when he first showed what he can do.