Marcus Rashford produced yet another sensational display at No.9 during Manchester United’s first leg 1-0 win over Celta Vigo in the Europa League semi-final.
The youngster put pressure on the home side from minute one, forcing an excellent save from Sergio Álvarez before smartly teeing up Jesse Lingard with a great chance moments later that the Englishman spurned.
Rashford’s crowning moment came in the 67th minute when, after being brought down outside the box, he rifled an unstoppable free-kick into the far corner to hand Jose Mourinho’s men a vital away goal.
The 19-year-old’s numbers from the game, however, demonstrate that he did far more than just put Man United ahead.
Rashford's game by numbers vs. Celta Vigo:
1 free kick
2 key passes
100% tackles won
Carrying United's attack. pic.twitter.com/Wx6m9GAI88
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) May 4, 2017
This was Rashford’s 48th appearance of the season and it showed: he may still be a teenager but the Englishman, through virtue of sheer fearlessness and commitment to the cause, has managed to establish himself as a focal point in this current side.
He is so much more than the plucky, dangerously quick striker of last season; Rashford, following nine months under Mourinho, has developed an acute awareness of what surrounds him – a sense of maturity that completely belies his age.
How many 19-year-olds could pull rank over the world’s most expensive player at a free kick, in a European semi-final, and silence the home crowd with a deadly, more or less perfect strike into the top corner?
One thing is for sure: United have a prodigy on their hands.