No matter what Jose Mourinho does with Marcus Rashford this season, he will be criticised by certain areas of the media.
Following Manchester United’s second Premier League win of the campaign making it 6 points from 6, typically most articles covered the immediate impact of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the performance of new world record signing Paul Pogba,.
However, lurking in the shadows was a couple of negative pieces on the fact United’s wonderkid, Rashford, is yet to play a minute of Premier League football.
Whilst the dynamic forward possesses such ability that he has people thinking he could go on to be the best player to come from United’s academy since (erm Pogba?) the class of 92, surely it is best to protect him rather than run him into the ground in the early weeks of the season.
Born in 1997, the England international made his United debut in February and played continuously in the first team before going to the Euro’s with England.
To say he was a breath of fresh air during a dismal season would be an understatement. Martial aside, Rashford was the only bright spark in a truly forgettable Premier League campaign for the Old Trafford side.
Like most 18 year olds, he is no doubt as fit as a fiddle and could probably play twice a week for the full season without any need for rest – but having been constantly involved in first team football since February, surely Mourinho has taken the bigger picture into consideration – not only for Rashford the individual, but also United as a club.
Mourinho has quickly found a winning formula so will no doubt stick to it until he is confident enough to make the changes to the side which do not alter team cohesion or ultimately the match result. Even new boy Henrik Mkhitaryan will have to wait his turn.
In terms of Rashford himself – he needs to look no further than the career of Michael Owen, who is the perfect example of a young striker who burst onto the scene making a huge impact at the highest level – only to be pretty much washed up as a footballer by the age of 26.
It is a real concern that those players who begin at an incredibly young age and rely on their electric pace eventually stagnate during their mid-twenties.
Swedish star Ibrahimovic is presently one of the most dangerous strikers in world football. At the ripe old age of 34 he is able to spearhead the United attack without any risk of burnout or crisis of confidence should he not find the net for three games – something which affects every forward at some stage of their career.
Of course Rashford will need game time. Every footballer does. Yet to criticise Mourinho for not playing the youngster in the opening two matches is absurd as this could ultimately be a 60 game season for United in which opportunities to impress will come thick and fast.
Marcus Rashford, along with Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial seem to be the future of Manchester United, and Jose Mourinho will be doing what he can to ensure they remain at the top of their game for the next ten years, even if it means sitting a few games out from time to time.