Former Manchester United full-back Phil Neville believes Marcus Rashford simply has to be in Jose Mourinho’s starting XI against Leicester City on Saturday.
The 18-year-old had started against both Feyenoord and Watford yet he was left on the bench for Man United’s League Cup tie with Northampton Town.
But with United struggling, Rashford was thrown on after 55 minutes and he duly delivered by setting up Ander Herrera for United’s second before he went on to finish the game at the end after chasing down a lost cause.
Speaking in the aftermath of what was a comfortable 3-1 win, Neville insisted that Rashford deserves to start against the Premier League champions.
“This kid is special,” he said.
“He has to start [against Leicester] – when a young lad is in such good form you’ve got to let them fly. You’ve just got pick him. It puts others under pressure, but this kid is special and he’s scoring goals.
“The biggest quality he’s got is his temperament. To play for Manchester United is not easy, especially at a young age. He’s making it look easy – he’s getting quicker, he’s getting stronger and the relationship between him and Zlatan Ibrahimovic is going to be special.”
The introduction of Rashford and Ibrahimovic sent a ripple of fear – laced with admiration – across the Sixfields stadium and it fundamentally changed proceedings on the pitch. Above anything, it was the 18-year-old’s sheer energy – his raw, unyielding pace and voracious attitude – that saw United get over the line.
Neutrals watching at home perhaps would have perhaps envisaged Ibrahimovic – the man with 397 career goals and 31 trophies – altering the course of the game but it was the effervescent Rashford, seemingly unable to slow down in his sudden ascension to stardom, who made the vital difference.
United need that sort of youthful energy and exuberance in the team every week and Rashford looks like he’s the man to deliver just that.