By Robert Spencer
Over the past few months England’s sporting community has been captivated by the meteoric rise of the Manchester United star Marcus Rashford.
The 18-year-old has just been named as part of the 23-man England squad headed to France for Euro 2016. His trajectory has made people wonder whether he is England’s new hope for a world- class player.
But what will Rashford face going into his first major international tournament?
At the moment Rashford has an 89% shot accuracy. Even Cristiano Ronaldo who scored over 50 goals this season can’t maintain that shot accuracy.
Ted Knutson from Statsbomb said: “The problem is that Rashford doesn’t generate any real shot volume. 1.7 shots per 90 is well below the level of elite forwards, and because of that his goal return of basically 1 every 2 games is questionable.”
It can be easy to get your shots on target when you hardly shoot. But the fact that he scores with his shots still say’s a lot about his potential.
“The very fact he is being selected to play PL matches at all at this age suggests he’s an elite talent, and the fact that he’s scoring goes a long way toward reinforcing it.”
Rashford can be consistent in all other areas to make himself a more rounded player, and still add value to his team even when he doesn’t score.
Underneath the heaps of praise, constructive criticism of his ball control was pointed out in the Australia game. Rashford was seen giving the ball away, or was intercepted at the slightest challenge. He will definitely need to improve his ball control for the international games when he faces football veterans.
Strength is another obstacle that he may encounter, or lack of. He is still a young man growing into his body. He doesn’t necessarily have the strength to overpower a fully grown man. This is simply something that he will have to face. On the positive side he is filled with energy and hopefully can outrun his pursuers.
Fatigue affects even the fittest of players at some point. Rashford will be expected to play every 5 or 6 days. He may come on as a substitute, but they may also play him for the full 90 minutes if the manager feels he is up to it. In between games he will also endure intense training which will only intensify the further England advance in the competition.
They say the real battle is won and lost in the mind. If this is true then Rashford will need to keep his composure when he faces media scrutiny and witnesses a hostile crowd of in the thousands for the first time. His family appear to have a close bond with him so hopefully they can keep him grounded.