The fifth goal of Marcus Rashford’s senior career came in the Manchester derby – the winner in a 1-0 affair at the Etihad Stadium that truly announced the then-teenager as a force to be reckoned with, especially on the big occasions. But after the arrivals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku in subsequent summers, Rashford is no longer guaranteed a starring role in Manchester United’s most important fixtures.
The Manchester derby comes around once again this weekend and Jose Mourinho will have crucial decisions to make, particularly in attack. While Lukaku has scored just two goals in his last 13 games, Ibrahimovic has re-emerged from his lengthy injury with the same self-belief of old and Anthony Martial has proved a devastating option when called upon – providing a goal or assist per 64 minutes of play in the top flight.
Rashford, in contrast, has struggled to make the same impact in recent weeks after starting the campaign in a blaze of form. But born in nearby Wythenshawe and a product of United’s youth system, the 20-year-old will be desperate to force his way back into the side in time for Sunday’s 4.30pm kickoff.
And the England international certainly did his chances no harm last night against CSKA Moscow in what was arguably a Man of the Match display. Indeed, Rashford was the most potent threat to the visitors’ defence and caused relentless problems for their two centre-backs, something highlighted by returns of five shots, four crosses and seven successful dribbles.
That instrumental performance was capped off with the winning goal, Rashford latching onto Juan Mata’s lobbed through ball before drilling the ball into the net on the half-volley, but it could have been a brace for United’s academy product – who also saw a precise effort cannon off the bottom of the bar.
It’s certainly given Mourinho food for thought ahead of this weekend’s derby. But would you start Rashford against Manchester City? Let us know by voting below…