Marcus Rashford admits he ‘wasn’t prepared’ for the limelight of being a professional footballer following his sudden emergence at Manchester United.
Rashford came through Manchester United academy ranks before becoming a household name almost overnight in 2016, scoring twice on his first-team debut against FC Midtjylland as a teenager before adding another brace on his Premier League bow against Arsenal just days later.
Since then the forward has established himself as a key figure for both club and country and has become one of the most recognisable players in English football, a situation the 22-year-old admits he ‘wasn’t prepared’ for when learning his trade in the Red Devils’ youth system.
“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.
🗓 On this day 4️⃣ years ago, Marcus Rashford had a debut to remember! 🙌
The then 18 year old bagged two goals at Old Trafford 🔥🔥pic.twitter.com/YkrndnGe1v
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 25, 2020
“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 has recalled his first experiences in the first-team at Old Trafford, with former manager Louis van Gaal having handed him his debut in that aforementioned Europa League clash following an injury to Anthony Martial in the warm-up.
The England international has revealed how he ‘didn’t feel like he belonged’ among the senior side following his first inclusion on the substitute’s bench for games against Watford and Leicester three months previous, and how his life changed following the whirlwind week of his goalscoring 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.”