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Player Spotlights: Can Rashford Thrive Under Jose Mourinho?

July 22, 2016

- Grant Whittington

Fate is a strange and often bewildering entity, and one that has a huge bearing on the success that we enjoy as individuals. Take the example of young Manchester United starlet Marcus Rashford, who would probably still be turning out for the Red’s reserve and academy sides had French striker Anthony Martial not tweaked his hamstring in the warm-up for last season’s Europa League clash with FC Midtyjlland. This injury gave Rashford his chance to shine, with the young striker netting a brace during a 5-1 thrashing of the Danes.

The Rest Is History, But Can Rashford Thrive Under Mourinho?

The rest is history, with Rashford also netting a brace on his Premier League debut against Arsenal, securing his place as a first-team regular and even representing England during Euro 2016. With the new season now upon us, Rashford will be hoping to impress incoming manager Jose Mourinho and forge a progressive partnership with the recently signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The young Mancunian has certainly enjoyed a rapid rise to fame, after turning down overtures from Manchester City and signing for the Reds as recently as 2014. Initially, he had plied his trade at the prestigious Fletcher Moss Junior club, which also developed talents such as Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck and current teammate Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. Operating largely as a wide forward or in the hole behind an orthodox, central striker, Rashford quickly showcased the eye for goal and exquisite touch that distinguishes him as a truly unique talent.

The question that remains is whether Rashford can continue his incredible development under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho. After all, the Portuguese is not renowned for promoting academy players, while the arrival of Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan will also create more intense competitions in forward positions. Mourinho is too shrewd to ignore the club’s reputation as a nurturer of young players, however, while Rashford’s incredible maturity and talent will enable him to earn a place in the first-team on merit alone.

Where Will Rashford Play?

While we should expect Rashford to play regularly throughout the season, however, he will probably not star as a central striker. With the irrepressible Ibrahimovic in attack and Rooney destined to be restored to the number 10 role in time for the new season, Rashford is most likely to play as a wide forward alongside either Anthony Martial, Memphis Depay, Jesse Lingard or  Mkhitaryan himself. This is arguably his best position, however, particularly given his raw pace, dribbling ability and movement off-the-ball.

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