Marcus Rashford is a lifelong Manchester United fan who has been at the club since he was seven and started attending every home game from eight. In an interview with FourFourTwo, he has spoken about his first game at Old Trafford and his childhood heroes.
Real Madrid at Old Trafford – that was the first game I went to. It was 4-3 and Ronaldo scored a hat-trick. To feel that atmosphere was incredible. United have always been my team. When I was about eight or nine, I started going to pretty much every home game. I remember Berbatov’s hat-trick against Liverpool, and the City game when Wazza scored that overhead kick.
I enjoyed watching the games I didn’t have the opportunity to go to [on YouTube]. The 2008 Champions League semi-final second leg against Barcelona was my favourite – just the atmosphere. I always liked to watch the history of the club.
My idols were Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo. They would have been my favourite players anyway, but it helped that I could watch them close up and see them grow into the great players they became. I saw their journeys.
Rashford first played for Fletcher Moss Rangers, the club that Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck and Jesse Lingard all came from, and had trials at a few Premier League clubs before choosing United.
I trained with City for literally about a week. Before I signed for United, I trained with a few different academies and my Sunday League team, but we visited United and I sat down with my brothers and mum afterwards. There was something special about the place. There wasn’t really a decision to be made.
The day I joined United, the first team were training at The Cliff. I watched them play for a bit, then we went inside the dome at the training ground and signed. That’s a day I won’t ever forget.
Rashford’s mum found a letter that he had written at school which outlined his hopes and dreams for the future.
I remember writing that letter. It was a school project – for me, they were the easiest ones because you could just speak about what you were living. From quite a young age, I knew what I wanted to achieve. When I was 11, 12, 13 years old, I knew exactly what I wanted. Then, at United, you are around the training ground and you see how the older lads dedicate themselves, so that wasn’t the hardest thing for me to do, even at a young age.
Sir Alex Ferguson would talk to us in the canteen every now and then, too, and say that he hoped we were training hard. Sometimes we would be doing a joga bonito training session in the gym, and he would be watching on the balcony. When you’re a kid, hearing words come out of his mouth used to drive us for the next month or two.
Family plays a part as well. Throughout the journey you have ups and downs – if you don’t have the right people around you, that can be the end of you playing football. I thank the people around me.