A teenager from Manchester United’s academy scoring on his Premier League debut, not once but twice. Has something like this ever happened before? Of course it has.
And somewhat unfortunately for the Red Devils, it hasn’t always turned out the way they might have hoped.
Possibly the most notable from the list of players who didn’t quite keep the goalscoring run going is Italian Federico Macheda, who will forever be remembered for his injury time winner against Aston Villa late in the 2008/09 season. A debutant aged just 17, Macheda scored the decisive goal in a game that pushed United further ahead of Liverpool in the title race.
That moment is without doubt the highlight of a disappointing career to date. Unsuccessful loan spells at Sampdoria and VfB Stuttgart followed. Even though he is still just 24 and might still make a name for himself, you can be sure it won’t be in United colours, having permanently joined Cardiff City in 2014, the club he is currently on loan to Nottingham Forest from.
Another player who has still yet to prove himself is current employee of the club James Wilson. At 18, Wilson scored two goals on his Premier League debut against Hull City while under the brief management of Ryan Giggs.
Almost two years have passed since then and he has only registered one more goal for the club and earlier this season he was shipped off to Brighton and Hove Albion by Louis van Gaal to gain more experience. Although he is still just 20, it seems as if his progression over the past two seasons has been slow and he will struggle to gain playing time when he returns in the future.
Adnan Januzaj is another one that may disappoint the Old Trafford faithful. Undoubtedly the most exciting player mentioned thus far, Januzaj scored two goals in a 2-1 away win to Sunderland when he made his first Premier League start.
After moving to Borussia Dortmund at the beginning of this season on loan, Januzaj was called back after failing to make an impact and has since struggled to get in the first team at United. However, he was the only bright spark in what was a grim 2013/14 season at the club and has only turned 21 earlier this year so make no mistake of it, Januzaj will come good.
Reportedly brought to the club at the age of eight, Danny Welbeck made his way up through the ranks, eventually scoring his first senior goal on his Premier League debut versus Stoke, aged 17. Unfortunately for all, Welbeck never cemented a starting place at the club and made the switch to Arsenal in 2014. It looked as if he didn’t want to be to United what Shola Ameobi was to Newcastle.
In saying all of that, nothing can be taken away from what Rashford has done since his debut. To score four goals in two games for any player at any level is an achievement but to do it for one of the world’s top clubs, at the age of 18, is astonishing.
It’s amazing what positivity a youth product can do to a club in these negative times but for him personally, he will have to work extremely hard over the next 12-18 months to make sure United fans will be chanting his name long into the future.
William Dunne, Pundit Arena