Flash back twelve months. A lacklustre Manchester United side were struggling to find their flow under new manager Ralf Ragnick. Cristiano Ronaldo was carrying a side where some of England's core players were struggling to adapt to life after Euro 2020. Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, two of the nation's best youngsters, were regular benchwarmers for the Red Devils. As for Harry Maguire, pick up a newspaper and you'll see one of England's most reliable centre backs on the sports pages, headlines full of slander and abuse for a captain thrown in the firing line. It wasn't looking good for the club as a whole, but if you happened to be English in one of the team's darkest moments, the press were going to be relentless. 


Fast forward to today and England fans are jubilant, celebrating a convincing 3:0 win against noisy neighbours Wales. Whilst Jadon Sancho does not appear in our latest World Cup squad, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford find themselves in a rich vein of form, the latter especially. His goals for United have been crucial in a redemption season for both club and country, and after goals against Iran and Wales will give Gareth Southgate extra options in attack, it gives fans a chance to celebrate a footballer who really is much more than the name suggests.



Marcus Rashford is often underrated, and some may argue that recent seasons have backed that up. As a Manchester United player, the need to perform week in, week out is expressed by the fans, the media and even everyday people with no interest in the sport. As a homegrown player, Marcus often carries the hopes and dreams of the fans on his shoulders, adding to the constant pressure of playing for one of the biggest clubs in the world. Despite this, he seems to handle this very well, bringing something different to the attack. Playing as a natural number nine, or often off the left, he likes to drift inside and play in the left half space. This creates space for the attacking midfielder, often Bruno Fernandes, to invade wide left. This is in an attempt to create a W-M formation in possession, often favoured by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, and overload in attack. Rashford benefits from this as he is able to cut inside onto his favoured right foot and trouble opposition defences, causing havoc with his pace and natural goalscoring ability. New manager Erik Ten Hag has utilised his best qualities, and has persisted in picking him over players such as Ronaldo and Sancho. If his manager at club level is able to put that amount of trust in him, then Gareth Southgate is surely right in picking him for this World Cup. A trademark Rashford goal against Iran with his first touches, followed by a peach of a free kick against the Welsh, has paid back the trust of his bosses, and of fans around the country, in one tournament. A rare type of player that the world should appreciate, we may never see a player storm onto the seen like we have with this talent. 


None of us know what the rest of the season may have in store for us. Should football come home, Rashford may find that next level in his ability, and certainly he can fire Manchester United to a trophy this season. If not, the chances of his entire season crashing down in flames isn't entirely likely. A positive figure, as unwilling to give up on the pitch as he is off it, there is no doubt Marcus Rashford has impacted this country in his few years of fame. Remember the name.