Manchester United ace Juan Mata has revealed his belief that young striker Marcus Rashford is a ‘great in the making’ given his impact so far this season.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Spaniard noted: “Marcus showed again that he is a great player in the making. We all believe in him, although we must remember he’s still very young and he’s just arrived in the first team.”
It is easy to see why Mata rates the youngster so highly, as the 18-year-old has now scored five goals in eight senior appearances, including the winner in the Manchester derby on Sunday.
Aside from his goalscoring exploits, his pace, movement and general cleverness on the pitch are all signs that he has all the talent required, but this is merely just the beginning if he wishes to become a star at Old Trafford for the foreseeable future.
Many young players have made an impressive start to life at the highest level around the world, but the difference between a prospect and a legitimate great is their ability to stay there for many years and consistently produce.
Rashford will find that opposition defenders will now adjust to the threat that he poses as he is no longer an unknown quantity, and with scouting reports and the like all centred around him, he will have to deal with the added attention and pressure that he will face during games.
Louis van Gaal deserves plenty of credit for developing his talent and giving him the confidence to produce for the senior side, and along with the likes of Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard, United are certainly building a youthful team for the future.
It is important that that trio in particular continue to gain playing time together to build their chemistry, and in turn it can only lead to positive things for the individuals and club as a whole.
Rashford has burst onto the scene and rightfully earned plenty of plaudits, but the real test to determine as to whether he is ‘a great player’ may not even come until next season.
With United likely to be busy in the transfer market and with Wayne Rooney returning from injury, the young star faces some difficult questions that will put his position in the starting line-up at risk. However, if he continues to answer them as convincingly as he has done thus far, then few will doubt Mata’s analysis moving forward.