Rashford and the next record he needs to break at Euro 2016

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Let’s start with a little bit of trivia – Who was the last teenager to win the European Championships?

The answer is German legend Lothar Matthaus, who was an uncapped 19-year-old playing for Borussia Monchengladbach ahead of Euro 1980.

Since Matthaus, no player under the age of 21 has tasted European Championship glory, which suggests that the competition is no place to rely on the lack of experience of youth.

The same can be said for the World Cup, where the last teenage winner was a 17-year-old PSV-bound Ronaldo in 1994, who had just shown his capabilities by netting 44 goals in just 47 matches for Cruzeiro in the previous season.

Long-standing records are there to be broken and Marcus Rashford became the youngest England player to score on debut since 1938 when netting the opener inside three minutes of the 2-1 friendly victory over Australia.

The goal and the general excitement he created during his maiden cap has seen 18-year-old Rashford shorten into 1/5 to be included in Roy Hodgson’s final 23, while he is 7/1 to retain his starting spot for England’s Group B opener with Russia and 66/1 to scoop Euro 2016’s Golden Boot.

Based on history, it takes a future great to be included in the squad of a major-tournament-winning nation, with England priced at 8/1 to lift the trophy at Euro 2016.

If they do, Rashford should be bookmarked as a future Ballon d’Or winner. Matthaus claimed this honour in 1990 and Ronaldo did so twice in 1997 and 2002.

While England were beating Australia, Northern Ireland were also getting a confidence boost ahead of their own participation at Euro 2016 with a 3-0 victory over Belarus.

Again it was the youth that stole the show, with Michael O’Neill’s youngest squad member – 21-year-old Paddy McNair – rewarded with man-of-the-match recognition.

However, it was in more advanced positions where McNair was most eye catching, despite being used predominantly at full-back or as a central defender when afforded fleeting first-team opportunities at Manchester United.

McNair began the night in defensive midfield before breaking forward into more advanced areas more regularly as the game wore on.

Man Utd have already proved the statement wrong once that teams can’t win anything with kids and although new manager Jose Mourinho is not normally one to put much faith in youth, he may well have at least two youngsters ready to take the 2016/17 Premier League season by storm.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.