Manchester United's Marcus Rashford shines spotlight on Chelsea

Manchester United 3

Marcus Rashford has breathed life into Manchester United's faltering campaign.

In January this year, Manchester United's Under-18's were humbled by the brilliance of Chelsea's youth team. An embarrassing one-sided contest ended with the Londoners prevailing 5-1.

Heavy criticism of United's youth set up understandably followed. They sat 30 points behind arch rivals - Manchester City in the Under-18 league, and things were looking bleak.

On that day in January, the United team contained a certain young speed demon - Marcus Rashford. No one outside the club had heard of his name, let alone seen him play.

That all changed last month when Anthony Martial injured himself before United took on FC Midtjylland in the Europa League. With Wayne Rooney out injured, Louis van Gaal turned to Rashford. 

The 18-year-old proved the old adage, if you're good enough, you're old enough. 

What an incredible boost he has been to United's stuttering season. Scoring twice on his debut in Europe, bagging a double at home to title-chasing Arsenal, and then putting the icing on the cake with a winner at The Etihad in the Manchester derby.

He terrorised the City defence from start to finish. He has pace similar to that of Martial, and with him playing through the middle, the opposition are hesitant to press United as high up the pitch as they would do if Rooney was playing in the central role.

His movement and intelligent runs defy his years, and he is starting to show what an asset he can be for The Red Devils. With him in the side they look far more dangerous. It is almost as if he has injected life back into United's campaign, and the mood around Old Trafford seems to have lifted.

To put Rashford's achievements into context, not one of Chelsea players from that 5-1 mauling have represented the first team this year. Maybe things aren't as bad as first thought at United.

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