Louis van Gaal has said that Marcus Rashford is not “ready” for the Manchester United first-team following the 18-year-old’s emergence in the side.
However, when you look at the youngsters stats, it’s clear that he is already able to mix up with the Premier League elite and his boss may just be trying to quell some of the hype.
Rashford’s goal record alone shows he is ready for senior football, scoring seven in 13 across all competitions, starting all of them, and there is precedence with forwards emerging on the scene and continuing to perform despite their age.
Furthermore, the ease with which he skipped past Martin Demichelis in his club’s 1-0 Manchester derby win shows he can already mix it up with more experienced players.
Indeed, Van Gaal need only look to his current captain to see that years on the planet are no indicator of readiness for first-team action.
Wayne Rooney was only 16 when he made his debut for Everton, making Rashford look like a veteran in comparison, but quickly nailed down a spot in the starting line-up.
England’s all-time record goalscorer would go on to make 77 appearances across all competitions, scoring 17, before making a big-money move to Old Trafford.
Clearly Rooney was ready, despite being younger than Rashford is now, and he is not alone in proving his Premier League worth early on in his career.
Another obvious example is Michael Owen, who made his debut for Liverpool at the age of 17 with youth team manager Steve Heighway, in contrast to Van Gaal, stating the striker was ready for the step up.
Heighway was proved right when Owen scored on his debut for the Reds and he would go on to become England’s youngest player and goalscorer, while also appearing in at least 30 matches in all competitions for the next seven seasons at Anfield.
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