Ashley Fletcher on Marcus Rashford’s rise: ‘It could have been me’

by Ben Topliss

Ashley Fletcher has admitted that he was a tad envious of Marcus Rashford’s goalscoring exploits at Manchester United during the 2015/16 season.

Fletcher played with Rashford for Man United’s U21 side and the pair roomed together while with the England U20 squad.

Rashford has enjoyed a remarkable rise to prominence in recent months, impressing in United’s first team and making England’s squad for the European Championships this summer, while Fletcher has been in fine goalscoring form on loan at Barnsley. Fletcher admitted he has an element of ‘what if’ when he looks at Rashford’s rise to prominence.

“It is strange to think what might have happened when you see what took place with Marcus,” Fletcher said.

“Part of you thinks: ‘It could have been me’. But football is funny like that — opportunities can crop up any time. Hopefully people might think of us together as young players at United. But what Marcus has done is unbelievable — scoring for United’s first team, scoring for England.

“He deserves all the attention he is getting — maybe I can run him for his place next season.

“We have played together at most age groups at United, and to play together in the first team would be amazing.”

Rashford certainly had an element of fortune about his chance at United – he was only included in the starting XI during an injury crisis earlier in the season – but he grabbed his opportunity with both hands and he remained in the side on merit.

The onus is now on Fletcher to do the same but he will have plenty of competition. The likes of Adnan Januzaj, Andreas Pereira and James Wilson will also want opportunities under new boss Jose Mourinho. Fletcher may well have to wait but it is important that he is ready when the time comes.

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