Marcus Rashford’s astonishing rise to Manchester United’s first team in 2016 came as a surprise to many. Rashford was only 18 at the time and wasn’t expected to take part as he took a place on the bench against Midtjylland in the Europa League.
Anthony Martial, that season’s star player, was injured in the warm-up and Rashford was subsequently given the nod by Louis van Gaal, who handed Rashford his first-team debut. Rashford scored two goals and the rest is, as they say, history.
Rashford’s boyhood club, Fletcher Moss Rangers, is rarely mentioned in the conversation when his meteoric rise is brought up. Manchester United have a history of recruiting from the local club, with Danny Welbeck and Jesse Lingard also having pasts at Fletcher Moss Rangers before joining United’s Academy.
Fletcher Moss Rangers’ academy development officer, David Horrocks, has been full of praise of Rashford in the past and although he has admitted that the 23-year-old’s career has helped develop their club, he has insisted there has been little else to gain from it.
“When you look at what he did, it sort of elevated the profile of Fletcher Moss Rangers,” Horrocks told CaughtOffside. “But it’s not benefited us in any way other than more young boys and girls wanting to come to ours. That’s the only benefit we’ve had out of it. We’ve had no income coming through, nothing coming back from the clubs who’ve taken these players.
“I was talking to Marcus’ mum a few months ago, telling her about how our development plan was coming along and our plan to rebuild our changing rooms. I was saying to her we were trying to fund-raise, I wasn’t asking her for money, I would never do that. It’s not something that I feel we should do. I feel if Marcus wants to contribute something, let him do it. But we’ve never asked him for anything, a shirt, a pair of football boots, I wouldn’t go and do it. I don’t think it’s fair because everyone wants a piece of him.
“I was speaking to her about this and she says ‘well what did you do with the money you got off Marcus?’ and I said ‘well, what money that we got off Marcus?’. She said ‘the money that you got off Marcus signing for Manchester United’. I said ‘What money?’ She said ‘well you must’ve got a signing-on fee for him’ and I said ‘no, we didn’t even get a bag of balls or a pile of bibs’.”