Marcus Rashford’s chant was sung a few times during Thursday night’s 4-0 win over AZ Alkmaar, despite the striker not playing a minute of football. Having scored goals against Manchester City and Spurs the week earlier, his status among the fans continues to rise.
Rashford has now scored 58 goals for the club after joining United when he was just seven. In doing so, he rejected interested from clubs like City, Liverpool and Everton. He has discussed with the BBC how he came to his decision.
Before I came to United, there was a lot of clubs [interested]. We supported Manchester United but my mum didn’t know much about football.
It was my brothers, really, who managed to categorise good academies from bad academies, The final decision came down to which club I loved and wanted to play for? United was perfect. It was everything that you wish for as a kid. Whether you leave the club or you stay here forever, people say once you play for United you’re always a red and for me that’s true.
On Sunday, United face Everton, and will claim the record for having at least one academy graduate in the matchday squad for 4,000 consecutive games, a record that stretches over 82 years. Rashford has talked about what the academy means to him.
The academy holds a huge place in United’s history. They mould you into a Manchester United person or a Manchester United player. But the process begins before you can even remember. There are people who have been there since they were five or six. I was having fun until I was about 11 or 12.
You don’t realise how good you can be or the potential you have. You are just having a kickabout with some kids you have grown to like and have become friends with through football. Looking back on it, the stuff we used to do in training, that is how the process started in becoming a Manchester United player.
We are privileged to go to lots of tournaments in places like Spain or Italy. I tried to take little bits from everywhere I went. I used to think ‘even if you are not as good as some of the players you are playing against, it is a completely different culture’.
You see with some of the Spanish and Brazilian players here, they bring something different to the team.
There was a tournament where we finished 14th out of 20. We all learned so much from that tournament. There was another where we finished second but we probably didn’t learn half as much as we did in the previous one. It is around the ages of 13, 14, 15 that you learn a lot.
From 15 to 18, that is your moment to start trying to mature because the men’s game is a lot different to academy football. The initial transition can be tough but if you just stick at it, naturally you get used to it. You start to perform at that level and it will become standard.