Why Rashford *MAY* be worth the risk.

With the European Championships fast approaching, speculation is beginning to grow about who is going to fill those spaces on the short flight to France. One name that seems to be popping up more and more is that of youngster Marcus Rashford. Should he really be taken to the Euros at such a tender age however? Well – the jury seems out on that issue, however if he manages to get a couple more in the remaining games – here are 3 reasons why I’d CONSIDER taking him.

1 – OTHER OPTIONS

You’d of thought that at the moment, most people would have three forwards already in their minds for who they’d select for the Tournament. Vardy and Kane seem certainties, and Daniel Sturridge seems to have overcome persistent injury issues for the moment and appears to be playing much like his old self. The last place on the plane is one of debate. The main player who seems to dividing opinion is all-time record goalscorer Wayne Rooney. Would I take Wayne? Well, it’s all dependent for me on how he finishes the season. You cannot criticize his record for the national side, or for United for that matter – but is “reputation” enough to go by? For me, it has to be combined with current form and how he’d fit into the squad. Rooney wouldn’t be the sort of player you’d want to come off the bench to make an impact – he simply isn’t that sort of player. Rashford’s energy and style of play would suit being an ‘impact’ player more effectively. As for Danny Welbeck – I’m sorry, but he hasn’t done enough this campaign for one reason or another to take. I know his record for England is very respectable, but you can’t take him based on that alone.

2 – “Bursting” onto the scene

When you look at some of England’s most successful strikers in the last 15-20 years, two of those really made their name at a tender age in a big international tournament. Michael Owen terrorised defences in the 1998 World Cup, and only an unfortunate injury stopped Wayne Rooney in his tracks at the Euros 12 years ago. Rashford has that opportunity this year. He doesn’t seem intimidated by the big stage, he has similar confidence levels to the aforementioned players – and given he’d probably be fourth choice striker, pressure on him wouldn’t be too overbearing. He’s definitely a player for the future, should he keep up the form he’s shown so far in his United career, but why not give him a go to demonstrate his potential? He’d certainly play with a lot more freedom than Rooney for example, who’s performances at major tournaments is always scrutinized beyond belief. Rashford could give it his best shot, knowing full well the expectation will be on others to get the goals for the side.

3 – Quality

Contrary to the more cynical footballing supporters, I genuinely believe Marcus Rashford does have a natural ability and eye for goal that could well be developed with good management to make him a top class player. His strike against West Ham in the FA Cup showed not only his self belief to attempt it in the first place, but also genuine striking ability to finish with such class. One or two goals can be seen as a flash in a pan, but the consistent high level of goals he’s scored so far could well be rewarded with an England call up. One thing is for certain, if his call up for the Euros isn’t – and that is his ability to be in the right place at the right time, his ability to run and finish and a run of form he’s shown since his first call up – is no accident. I’m not trying to say he’s the best thing since.. Well, Harry Kane? But I do believe he’s shown excellent ability so far – and I can’t see how you’d call up Welbeck or Rooney over him BASED ON CURRENT FORM.

The question on everyone’s lips is whether Roy Hodgson will indeed pick a player based on form or on proven ability. If it was form, Rashford should be in the squad. However, given the fact Hodgson has hinted his hope that Jack Wilshere will be fit for the tournament, I’d expect it to be on reputation. If he doesn’t get the call up, a follow up of this run of form next season may well build up his reputation so even Roy can’t ignore him for Welbeck.

 

 

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TOP 5 – Premiership’s best ever strikers.

Following the unsurprising retirement of Arsenal legend Thierry Henry today, the footballing community has begun to look back at the wonderful career the Frenchman has enjoyed. Where does he stand on the list of the best Premiership strikers since it’s formation? The top 5 can be seen below. I must point out these players may not be as technically gifted as some omissions, such as Luis Suarez and Sergio Aguero for example. Consistency, longevity and loyalty has been taken into account more than a couple of incredible seasons.

5 – Wayne Rooney

This man may raise a few eyebrows to get into the top 5 strikers in Premiership history. Wazza has been a man who has never been far away from the headlines for incidents on and off the pitch and for good and bad reasons. If you take into account however the goals Rooney has scored and the medals that he has won, I believe that he deserves his place. Rooney has already notched 161 goals in 313 games and has won a massive 5 league titles, as well as two league cups and a Champions league medal. Does he warrant a top 5 place? Yes. Not only for his goals, but the work that he has put in over the years for his teammates is truly admirable, as is the amount of times he has got United out of sticky situations. It is worth remembering also that Rooney has achieved all of this by the age of 29 and by the end of his career he may be higher up a similar list.

4 – Didier Drogba

A players loyalty can often be measured by the reception he gets from his own supporters. It is hard to overstate the regard in which Didier Drogba is held by the Stamford Bridge faithful. A recent poll with supporters revealed that the Ivorian is considered the clubs finest ever player, and he won almost everything possible with a club. Three league titles, four FA cups in which he got Chelsea’s winner in 3 finals and two league cups are a fantastic achievement for any player and indeed any club. Not only this, but the big man has already managed over a century of goals and counting. Drogba ensured a place in the hearts of all Blues supporters forever following the winning penalty in Munich in 2012 winning the club their first Champions League. A consistently high level of performance from the big man who bleeds blue warrants him a place in the top 5.

3 – Dennis Bergkamp

One of the most elegant forwards to ever grace the top flight of English football. Despite the fact the non-flying Dutchman only scored 87 goals in his time at Arsenal, the skill in which he went about his work was something truly staggering and a joy to watch. Dennis had fantastic grace and poise and was hugely unpredictable for defenders to try and deal with. He formed a somewhat unstoppable partnership with Thierry Henry and was a pivotal member of the Invicibles of 2003-04. He was also vital in both of Arsenal’s double winning campaigns and the performance of Bergkamp was effortlessly consistent for over a decade. A well deserved bronze medal for the highly regarded striker.

2 – Thierry Henry

Well, the man who inspired this article gets a silver medal. The compliments for this man would almost make a blog post all in itself, but Henry had everything during his time at Arsenal. A fantastic leader from the front, the Frenchman had a jaw-dropping array of skills. A man with rapid pace and close control up there with any of his predecessors and opponents, Henry could flick a switch and win games for Arsenal. He scored all sorts of goals, long distance thunderbolts, skillful tight finishes, solo goals, deadly one on one successes.. The list goes on. If you look at all of the silverware that was in no doubt down to due to the magnifique man himself. Club and country honours a-plenty, and a well deserved second place in my list. Enjoy your retirement, King Henry.

1 – Alan Shearer

For the number one spot, I believe it has to go to the man who sits at the top of the all time Premiership top scorers list with a staggering 260 goals. Despite perhaps the worst celebration in the history of the beautiful game, Shearer is the striker who I respect the most in the history of our great league. I respect him because the love he had for his boyhood club Newcastle United meant he picked them over the might of Manchester United. A fan become player is always a fairy tale but in this case, it really worked. Almost a 1 in 2 record for a club like Newcastle who with due respect weren’t really title contenders for long periods of Shearer’s spell with the Toon is remarkable. 112 in 138 games for Blackburn shouldn’t be forgotten either, nor should his fierce partnership with Chris Sutton which almost single-handedly fired Blackburn to the league title. A man who lived his dreams and performed exceptionally for the first 14 years of the Premiership gives him the deserved number one spot.