With around 80 minutes on the clock on Sunday afternoon, Manchester United were staring down the barrel of yet another frustrating draw against rivals Leeds United in the space of just a few days, with Erik ten Hag‘s side having offered little to suggest that a breakthrough would arrive at Elland Road.
Then, almost inevitably, up stepped man of the moment Marcus Rashford to once again prove the difference maker for his team, with the England international continuing his red-hot form by expertly heading past a helpless Illan Meslier to break the deadlock with just ten minutes to go.
As that moment of magic illustrated, the 25-year-old simply has the golden touch at present, having scored in similarly impressive fashion in the reverse meeting last Wednesday at Old Trafford to spark the home side’s comeback.
These latest efforts are seemingly the mark of a man who is relishing in both the faith of his manager and the ability to be the leading figure in attack, with the exit of Cristiano Ronaldo in November having perhaps allowed the 51-cap speedster to emerge as United’s undoubted talisman.
The academy graduate’s resurgence has been particularly stark since returning from World Cup duty, with the 5 foot 11 ace having now scored eight goals in his last nine Premier League games, taking his overall tally to 21 goals in all competitions for the season.
While the Red Devils only recently extended the forward’s contract by a further 12 months – following previous links to Paris Saint-Germain last year – the aim will be to secure a long-term deal for a player who appears almost “unstoppable” right now, according to his manager.
How much is Rashford worth now?
The Premier League title hopefuls will certainly not be looking to cash in on their main man any time soon, although it will no doubt be pleasing for those at the Theatre of Dreams to see Rashford’s price tag soaring, with Football Transfers suggesting that his expected transfer value could be around €82m (£73m).
That sizeable figure simply illustrates how United struck gold by unleashing the academy graduate as a teenager, with the £200k-per-week star having blossomed from a breakout gem into something of a “goal machine” (as per Statman Dave) since his debut in February 2016, .
It is nearly seven years to the day since the local lad announced himself to the wider world after netting twice in the Europa League triumph over FC Midtjylland, before following up that stunning display with another brace at home to Arsenal just three days later.
Although there have been notable lows since then – with Rashford only scoring four league goals last season after falling out of favour under Ralf Rangnick – he has largely been one of the few consistent shining lights in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era, with there being few better sights than seeing a player rise up from the youth ranks before establishing themselves in the senior setup.
The eye-catching dynamo now boasts a tally of 114 goals and 65 assists in 337 games for the club to date, with the 25-year-old likely to be eyeing the prospect of surpassing Wayne Rooney (253) as United’s all-time leading goalscorer in the years to come.
While that will require Rashford to continue his rampant goalscoring form on a regular basis, anything seems possible for the Red Devils’ renaissance man at this moment in time.