There are few bigger names in the world of professional sports than Manchester United. With more English league titles than any other clubs and a social media following that dwarfs the populations of a fair few nations around the world, the Red Devils are one of the best-known sports organisations that you will find anywhere. But while the fans have played a central role in elevating the club to its current position at the pinnacle of football, the people who are really responsible for success are the players.
In this article, we take a look at some surprising facts about some of the club’s current crop of players.
1. Marcus Rashford
If you have been following the news in the UK at the moment, you will almost certainly have heard about the fantastic work being done by winger Marcus Rashford. Rashford openly talks about his humble beginnings and the hunger that he sometimes had to go through as a child. In recent months, he has eloquently drummed up support for a continuation of free school meals in the holidays, criticising the UK government for not doing enough to help the over four million children living in poverty in the country today. Rashford grew up in Wythenshawe and still returns to his old neighbourhood regularly. He grew up on the same street as former Manchester United player Wes Brown.
2. Paul Pogba
French superstar midfielder Paul Pogba is undoubtedly one of the more flamboyant personalities in the Premier League. Aside from his outlandish, ever-changing hairstyles, unique sense of fashion, and swashbuckling style of play, Manchester United’s record signing is also known to be a bit of a joker off the pitch. He may not be at the club for much longer though, given how regularly his agent Mino Raiola talks of the player’s supposed unhappiness. Pogba’s former agent, Gael Mahe, who represented the player and was close to the family from the age of 14 before he was poached by his current agent, claimed when the Frenchman signed for United they agreed a deal that was based around the idea he would spend his entire career at the club. Mahe believes if he had been his agent that Pogba would have never left for Juventus in 2012.
3. Odion Ighalo
One of the most unlikely transfers in the last few transfer windows was Manchester United’s move to pick up journeyman Nigerian striker Odion Ighalo on a free after a stint playing in China. But while Ighalo’s footballing pedigree was in doubt initially for some United fans (he has since gone on to defy low expectations with some good performances), the player’s dedication to the club certainly cannot. Even fans from rival clubs could not have failed to be touched by Ighalo’s reaction when the club he had supported vociferously since he was a child in Nigeria offered him a playing spot. Ighalo has an orphanage in his name back in Nigeria and does lots of charity work to support the children of his home country.
4. Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood is one of the best young English talents at the moment. With his ability to strike the ball equally off both feet, he has many a Premier League defender trembling at the thought of coming up against him. Unfortunately for Greenwood, however, the only headlines he has made this season were of the wrong kind. Together with fellow prodigy Phil Foden, Greenwood was ignominiously sent home from England duty in Iceland having been found to break COVID-19 social distancing regulations by inviting two Icelandic Instagram friends to the England hotel! Greenwood made his competitive debut for United as an 87th-minute substitute in United’s legendary 3–1 over PSG in the UEFA Champions League. At the age of 17 years and 156 days, he became the second youngest player to represent the club in a European competition, only behind Norman Whiteside, and the youngest ever in the Champions League era.
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