Marcus Rashford’s rise in the Manchester United ranks was meteoric and he was a bit thrown by the hype surrounding him early on.
Now, the 21-year-old is their attacking talisman with over 200 appearances to his name for the club.
It was in 2016 when he broke through from the academy ranks to score on his debut. And almost immediately, Rashford became a household name in Manchester, drastically changing his life both on and off the pitch.
“I can’t say I’ve ever really enjoyed the attention off the pitch,” Rashford told former Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, via the ATP Tour social media channels. “That’s one thing growing up as a footballer that you never think about.
“You always think about playing in the first team and scoring goals for United or at Old Trafford or any stadium. But you forget how your life can change overnight. Things that you can do with your friends, things that you can do with your family, the places you can go, it all changes. And I probably wasn’t as prepared for that bit as I was the actual going on the pitch and playing.
“For me that bit was the easier bit. It obviously took a lot of hard work to get there but when the opportunity came up I felt ready to step up.”
Rashford recalled how he did not feel a part of the Red Devils senior lineup leading up to his debut. “I remember a couple of months before my debut I was on the bench and at that moment I didn’t feel ready. I didn’t feel like I belonged in the first team,” he added.
“You know that’s why timing is so important. I wasn’t ready to play that game so I think the manager knew what he was doing at the time. Van Gaal is very experienced with young players and he wanted to wait for the right time. When I made my debut it just felt natural, it just felt like I was playing with my normal team-mates. I just remember doing normal stuff like going to college about four days later.
“We had two games in three days and the next day after that I had college and there was press outside my college and I didn’t understand what the big fuss was all about. Because in my mind I was just going to college to finish what I started in that year.”