At 25 years old, Marcus Rashford has this physical status:
Rashford began playing football for Fletcher Moss Rangers at the age of five, starting out as a goalkeeper, and cited former United goalkeeper Tim Howard as his goalkeeping idol. Fletcher Ross Rangers academy development officer Dave Horrocks recalls that Rashford was on a "different level" to other boys, playing a major role as the team won a tournament with 15 scouts from various clubs watching.
He spent a week training with Manchester City before he joined the academy system at Manchester United at the age of seven, amid interest from Everton and Liverpool. He credited his brothers with helping him decide to join United. Former United youth coach Paul McGuinness quickly saw Rashford's potential due to his athleticism both on and off the ball, but during his early years at the club, he often had to miss training as he found it difficult to get to training due to his mother and brothers working, and eventually received assistance from youth coaches Dave Bushell, Eamon Mulvey, and Tony Whelan, who helped find drivers for Rashford to get to the training ground. When he was 11, he became the youngest ever player to be selected for the Manchester United Schoolboy Scholars scheme, usually reserved for players 12 and above. He was fastracked and began playing cage football with Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison, helping to increase his skill level playing with players four years his senior.
In 2012, he was part of the Manchester United under-15 squad which finished second in the 23rd annual Marveld tournament. In 2014, The Guardian named him as Manchester United's best prospect in the 2014 Next Generation, saying that his "total-football style gives him a fair chance of going all the way". Rashford trained with United's first team for the first time aged 16 under the management of David Moyes during the 2013–14 season, and described the training session as "priceless" to himself and other United academy players; he began training with the first team more regularly, and was deemed a "high flier" by coaches.
In 2015, United Under-19s manager Nicky Butt praised Rashford's performances for the team in a group stage match of the UEFA Youth League. His inclusion in the team began following an injury to Demetri Mitchell, and he capitalised on his chance by scoring six goals in 11 games in the Under-18's Premier League, as well as three goals in the Youth League. He was awarded the captaincy of the team by Butt, who hailed him as a leader. Rashford was named on the first-team bench for the first time on 21 November by Louis van Gaal for a Premier League match against Watford, which Manchester United won 2–1. He received the number 39 squad number, due to Van Gaal's insistence that strikers wear a squad number containing a nine. The following week against Leicester City, he was again named on the bench, but was again unused in a 1–1 draw. In February 2016, Rashford was subject to a loan bid from League One club Crewe Alexandra, but the temporary transfer was rejected by Reserves manager Warren Joyce. Former teammate Sean Goss described how Rashford impressed in first-team training sessions while the club was suffering an injury crisis, despite being one of the younger players called up to train.
On 25 February 2016, Rashford was included in the 18-man squad for United's UEFA Europa League round of 32, second leg tie against Danish club Midtjylland, owing to an injury crisis which saw 13 players injured. After Anthony Martial was injured in the warm-up, Rashford was chosen to start the game, and marked his first-team debut with two goals in the second half of a 5–1 win. Rashford's goals made him United's youngest ever scorer in European competition, beating a record previously held by George Best, and which was later broken by Mason Greenwood in the 2019–20 season. Rashford made his Premier League debut against Arsenal three days later; he again scored twice and provided the assist for the other goal in a 3–2 home victory against their rivals, making him the third youngest scorer for United in the Premier League after Federico Macheda and Danny Welbeck. Van Gaal hailed his performance as "fantastic" and better than his first match, but urged caution from the press not to harass and hype him, feeling he had the character to cope.
On 20 March, Rashford made history when he scored the only goal in the Manchester derby, his team's first away league win over Manchester City since 2012; aged just 18 years and 141 days, he became the youngest scorer in the fixture in the Premier League era, overtaking Wayne Rooney's record by almost one year. During the FA Cup sixth-round replay against West Ham United on 13 April, Rashford scored a fantastic curled goal in a 2–1 win to help United advance to the semi-final. Three days later, he scored the only goal of the game against Aston Villa, who were subsequently relegated for the first time since 1987. He later led the line in the FA Cup Final against Crystal Palace on 21 May, which ended in a 2–1 victory marking United's 12th FA Cup win and Rashford's first piece of silverware. He wrapped up the season with 8 goals in 18 appearances, despite only debuting in February, as well as winning the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year. On 30 May, Rashford signed a new contract with United worth £20,000 a week, which would keep him at the club until 2020, with an option to extend for a further year.
For the new season, marking his place as part of the senior squad, Rashford was given the number 19 by new manager José Mourinho. The signing of veteran striker Zlatan Ibrahimović meant he often had to settle for a place on the substitutes bench, though upon his signing, Ibrahimović praised Rashford as a "huge talent" and "the future of England".
Rashford scored his first goal of the season on 27 August 2016 against Hull City, scoring in the second minute of injury time after coming on for Juan Mata in the 71st minute. He scored thrice more the next month, on 18 September in a 3–1 league defeat to Watford; on 21 September in a 3–1 victory against Northampton Town in the EFL Cup third round; and in a 4–1 league win over Leicester City on 24 September. The following month, he was named as runner-up to Portugal's Renato Sanches in the Golden Boy award for best European player under the age of 21. On the pitch, however, he failed to score until 7 January 2017, when he scored a four-minute brace in the FA Cup against Jaap Stam's Reading, which ended 4–0.
Rashford won his third trophy on 26 February in the EFL Cup Final, coming on as a 77th-minute substitute in the 3–2 victory over Southampton. He was an instrumental part of United's 2–0 win over league leaders' Chelsea on 16 April, scoring the first goal after seven minutes from Ander Herrera's through ball. Rashford scored another key goal four days later against Anderlecht in the 107th minute of the Europa League quarter-final second leg in a 2–1 win (3–2 on aggregate), sending United into the next round. He started in the Europa League Final on 24 May against Dutch team Ajax, which Manchester United won 2–0 thus earning his fourth, and first European, trophy. Due to the signing of Ibrahimović, Rashford spent the majority of the season on the wing. He made the most appearances of any United player during the season, playing 53 times.
Rashford made his first appearance of his second full senior season on 8 August 2017 against Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup as a 46th-minute substitute in a 2–1 defeat. He started in a 4–0 home win against West Ham United five days later on 13 August, providing the assist for Romelu Lukaku's opening goal. Rashford scored his first goal of the season on 26 August, the opener in a 2–0 victory over Leicester, three minutes after coming on as a substitute. On 12 September, Rashford scored against Basel on his UEFA Champions League debut, the third in a 3–0 win, marking the sixth competition that he had scored on his debut. He scored a brace against Burton Albion on 20 September in the EFL Cup third round, as well as assisting the fourth goal in a 4–1 victory.
On 23 October, Rashford came third in the 2017 Golden Boy award behind winner Kylian Mbappé and Ousmane Dembélé. By 28 October, Rashford had contributed to 12 goals in 16 games, with seven goals and five assists, with his most recent goal being against Huddersfield Town on 21 October and his most recent assist coming against Swansea City on 24 October. On 6 December, he put in a man of the match performance in a 2–1 victory against CSKA Moscow, scoring the winning goal to help United qualify for the knockout phase of the Champions League. In the January transfer window, the club signed Alexis Sánchez, threatening Rashford's future in the team.
On 10 March 2018, Rashford scored both goals in a 2–1 win over rivals Liverpool on his first Premier League start of the year. Three days later, United were eliminated from the Champions League after a 2–1 defeat to Spanish side Sevilla, with Rashford producing the assist for United's goal. Mourinho was criticised for playing Rashford out of position on the right wing, where he was unable to play with any "spontaneity and freedom". Rashford scored in United's last game of the season on 13 May, a 1–0 victory over Watford at Old Trafford. At the conclusion of the season, Mourinho rejected the possibility of Rashford leaving on loan, pointing out Rashford had been selected for almost every match of the season.
Prior to the 2018–19 season, Rashford was given the squad number 10 following the release of Ibrahimović, the club's previous number 10. The shirt had also previously been worn in the Premier League by Teddy Sheringham, Ruud van Nistelrooy, and Wayne Rooney, and he was the third academy graduate to wear it after Mark Hughes and David Beckham. On 2 September, Rashford was sent off in a 2–0 win over Burnley at Turf Moor after clashing heads with Phil Bardsley, having only been on the pitch for 10 minutes; Mourinho labelled him "naïve", and put it down to inexperience. On 11 September, Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher opined that Rashford would have to leave United to reach his potential, having not started a game in the season at that point. Mourinho defended his use of Rashford in the team, suggesting that other clubs did not give youth players the same game time Rashford had recorded in the prior two seasons; he started his first game and subsequently scored his first goal of the season on 29 September in a 3–1 loss to West Ham United. On 3 November, he scored again, providing a winning goal in the second minute of stoppage time in a 2–1 win over AFC Bournemouth.
On 1 December, Rashford provided both assists in United's 2–2 draw with Southampton, with the goals coming from Lukaku and Herrera. The following Saturday against Fulham, he provided two assists for Ashley Young and Juan Mata before scoring the final goal in a 4–1 victory. On 22 December, Rashford scored in the third minute of Manchester United's first match under new interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær, in which United beat Cardiff City 5–1. On 30 December, Rashford again scored against Bournemouth in his final game of 2018, also assisting Paul Pogba's first goal in United's 4–1 victory. Solskjær praised Rashford's performances during the beginning of his reign, describing him as "different class", and said he thought Rashford had the chance to become one of the best strikers in the world. During United's first match of 2019 on 2 January, Rashford assisted their first goal from a free kick and scored the second in a 2–0 win over Newcastle United at St James' Park. Following this series of performances, pundit Gary Neville praised Rashford for beginning to play beyond just his potential, establishing himself as a "devastating" forward player.
On 13 January, Rashford scored the only goal in a 1–0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium; this marked the first time he had scored in three successive league games in his career, the third youngest to achieve this for United behind only Rooney and Ronaldo. The following week, he made his 150th appearance for the club in a 2–1 win against Brighton & Hove Albion, scoring a solo goal to become the youngest player in United's history to score in four successive league games, and the fourth youngest to reach 150 games, behind Norman Whiteside, George Best, and Ryan Giggs. On 2 February, Rashford was announced as Manchester United's Player of the Month for January 2019, as well as winning United's goal of the month for his strike against Tottenham. A day later, he made his 100th league appearance for the club and scored the only goal in a 1–0 away victory over Leicester City. In doing so, he became the second-youngest player after Giggs to reach the milestone for the club. His impressive performances in January earned him his first Premier League Player of the Month title, becoming the first United player since Ibrahimović in December 2016 to win the award.
On 6 March, Rashford scored from his first competitive penalty for the club, sealing a 3–1 win in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain to send the club through to the quarter-final on the away goals rule; he also contributed to Lukaku's equaliser, who scored off the rebound from Rashford's initial shot. Solskjær described him as "fearless" for taking the penalty. On 30 March, Rashford scored the opening goal in United's first victory with Solskjær as permanent manager, beating Watford 2–1.
On 1 July 2019, Rashford signed a new four-year contract with Manchester United, keeping him at the club until June 2023, with the option to extend by a further year. On the opening week of the season, Rashford scored a brace in a 4–0 win over Chelsea. In September 2019, following a spell of poor form, Solskjær said he was not concerned about Rashford's dip in form and lack of goals. Towards the end of October, a return to form saw Rashford score in a 1–1 draw with rivals Liverpool, ending their 17 match winning streak. The following week, Rashford scored and assisted against Norwich City, and scored a second brace against Chelsea in the EFL Cup. The return to form sparked by the Liverpool goal saw Rashford go on the best goalscoring run of his career to date, scoring 16 club goals in 20 matches, ending the run with a brace in a 4–0 victory over Norwich City. Rashford suffered a double stress fracture to the back in the following game, an FA Cup tie against Wolverhampton Wanderers, which put him out of action for several months. By playing in the game, he became the fourth youngest United player to have played 200 games for the club.
The season was halted for over three months, following a decision on 13 March 2020 by the Premier League to suspend the league after a number of players and other club staff became ill due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020, manager Solskjær announced that Rashford would be fit to play following the return to football during project restart, which saw the Premier League season resume behind closed doors for the remainder of the season. On 4 July, he scored his first goal since the restart as United beat Bournemouth 5–2. On 16 July, he scored his 17th Premier League goal of the season in a 2–0 victory against Crystal Palace, equalling his tally in the two previous seasons combined. At the end of season, Rashford was voted third for the English FWA Footballer of the Year award, and he also received the PFA Merit Award.
On 26 September 2020, Rashford scored his first goal of the season in a 3–2 win against Brighton & Hove Albion. On 20 October 2020, he scored the winning goal in a 2–1 away win against PSG in the first match of the 2020–21 Champions League. In the next Champions League match, Rashford scored his first United hat-trick in a 5–0 win over RB Leipzig; it was the second hat-trick ever scored by a United substitute, following manager Solskjær in the Premier League in 1999. He became the sixth United player to score a Champions League hat-trick, and the first since Robin van Persie in 2014. Rashford suffered a shoulder injury during a 3–1 victory against Everton; he continued to play despite the injury, but completed only one full game over the following month. On 26 December, Rashford became the third youngest Manchester United player to score 50 Premier League goals, when he scored the opening goal in the away fixture against Leicester City that ended in a 2–2 draw.
On 12 January 2021, Rashford assisted a goal for Paul Pogba to score the only goal of the game against Burnley, which resulted in United being top of the table for the first time since the 2012–13 season. On 2 February, he scored the second goal in United's Premier League record-equalling 9–0 win against Southampton. During a 1–0 win against West Ham in the FA Cup on 9 February, Rashford made his 250th appearance for the club, becoming the fourth youngest to reach the milestone. In April it was reported by ESPN that he had "not played a game completely pain-free in two years" due to shoulder, back, and foot injuries. Following the conclusion of the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament in which he represented England, it was agreed upon by club doctors and specialists that Rashford would be operated on; the surgery "went well" and ruled him out until October of the 2021–22 season.
Rashford returned to training on 11 October, and made a goalscoring return in a 4–2 away loss to Leicester, coming off the bench and making the score 2–2. On 22 January 2022, in a 1–0 win against West Ham, Rashford came on in the 63rd minute for Anthony Elanga, going on to score a 93rd minute winner; the goal meant he had scored more last-minute winners in Premier League history (four) than any other player, and new manager Ralf Rangnick responded by saying Rashford was "one of the top strikers in England" amid a bad run of form.
After enjoying a successful pre-season under new manager Erik ten Hag, who began the season by deploying Rashford both as a centre-forward and a left-winger, and he opened his account for the season by scoring in a 2–1 win against Liverpool, and then twice in a 3–1 win against Arsenal; with an additional two assists, Rashford matched his total goal involvements from the previous season. On 30 October, Rashford scored his 100th United goal in a 1–0 win against West Ham United.
In 2012, Rashford was invited to an England under-16 training camp, and was later selected to play in the Victory Shield against Northern Ireland under-16s in September, and Wales under-16s in October. Under-16's manager Kenny Swain later revealed that Rashford only played two appearances for the side due to an understanding with coaches at Manchester United regarding him being underdeveloped physically, and also thought the exposure would have been "too much" for him.
Three weeks after making his senior début for United in early 2016, Rashford made his first appearance for the England under-20 team, providing an assist for Kasey Palmer in a 2–1 defeat to Canada under-20s. Despite already making his senior début earlier in the year, Rashford was called up to the England under-21 team for the first time in August 2016 for a fixture in September against Norway under-21s. He scored a hat-trick in the 6–1 home victory over Norway in his only appearance for the team, scoring the third with a penalty, his first since turning professional. Under-21 manager Gareth Southgate praised Rashford for his humility in dropping down to under-21 level.
Despite having already made his senior tournament début, it was expected Rashford would be available for selection for the 2017 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, with the hopes of gaining more tournament experience. United manager José Mourinho responded to these reports by stating it would make no sense for his development as he was already playing senior football. In April 2017, Mourinho appeared to concede Rashford would attend the tournament, saying he had no right to stop him from participating, but later in the month reiterated his opinion that dropping down wouldn't make sense, with Rashford having gained so much senior experience throughout the season. In May, Rashford made the decision not to go to the tournament, and was instead selected for the senior squad by Southgate, the new manager. Southgate praised the decisions taken by United coaching staff in helping maximise the potential of Rashford by not allowing him exposure at youth level for England, saying his development had been handled well by all parties.
Rashford's performances in his first senior season led to calls for him to represent England at UEFA Euro 2016. Manchester United academy coach Nicky Butt dismissed these calls, calling them premature and possibly harmful for the player's development, as did England manager Roy Hodgson, who said Rashford should be allowed to "develop in peace". In April, Hodgson admitted it was "unlikely" Rashford would be included in his tournament squad, but on 16 May, Hodgson named him in his preliminary 26-man squad for the tournament. He became part of England's Euro 2016 squad less than four months after making his United debut.
On 27 May, he made his début for England wearing the number nine shirt, starting a warm-up match against Australia at the Stadium of Light and scoring the opening goal of a 2–1 win after three minutes, becoming the youngest Englishman to score on his international début, and the third youngest overall. The previous youngest scoring debutant was Tommy Lawton in 1938. On 16 June, he replaced Adam Lallana in the 73rd minute of England's 2–1 win over Wales at Euro 2016, making his tournament début at the age of 18 years and 229 days, becoming England's youngest ever player at a European Championships and breaking Wayne Rooney's Euro 2004 record by four days. He played just one more game in the tournament, coming on as a late substitute in England's shock 2–1 loss to Iceland in which he was praised for his impact, but described it as a valuable experience.
New England manager Sam Allardyce told Rashford he would not be called up to his first squad for a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification match against Slovakia in September, citing his lack of playing time in the early stages of the season. Allardyce was quickly replaced by Southgate, and Rashford was recalled to the senior team for games against Malta and Slovenia in October. Rashford scored his first competitive goal for the senior team on 4 September 2017, with the winning goal in England's 2–1 win over Slovakia in 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification. He was named in the 23-man England squad for the World Cup. Rashford scored the opening goal of England's final warm-up match against Costa Rica on 7 June 2018, and was tipped by former England stars Chris Waddle and Glenn Hoddle to start England's opening match against Tunisia. He started the game on the bench, but came on and performed well after replacing Raheem Sterling, deemed to be his direct competition for the starting role. He was reportedly set to start the second game against Panama due to the potential physically posed by their opposition, but Southgate ultimately changed his mind, Having already qualified for the knockout stage, he started England's final group game against Belgium alongside Jamie Vardy, but failed to impress. Rashford came on as a substitute and scored in the round of 16 penalty shoot-out against Colombia which saw England progress to the quarter-final. England ultimately finished fourth overall – their best performance since 1990.
On 8 September 2018, Rashford scored at Wembley in England's UEFA Nations League opener against Spain, losing 2–1. Three days later, Rashford also scored in a 1–0 friendly win over Switzerland at the King Power Stadium. The following month, he scored a goal and provided an assist in a 3–2 away win against Spain. England's final Nations League game on 18 November saw Rashford play in a 2–1 win over Croatia that saw England top their group and qualify for the Nations League finals in June 2019. His appearance in this game saw Rashford equal a national record set by Jack Charlton in 1966 by playing a total of 16 games for England throughout the year. In the semi-final, Rashford scored the opening goal of the game against the Netherlands, however England lost 3–1 in extra time.
During the October 2019 internationals, Rashford scored his first goal in England's qualification campaign for Euro 2020 in a 6–0 away victory over Bulgaria on 14 October. Rashford also scored in both of England's November internationals, a 7–0 win over Montenegro and a 4–0 win over Kosovo. These wins saw England become the ninth team to qualify for Euro 2020. On 6 June 2021, Rashford captained England for the first time, converting a penalty in a 1–0 win against Romania; he became the youngest England captain since Michael Owen in 2003, and was the seventh Manchester United player to captain England score in the same game.
Rashford was named in the 26-man squad for Euro 2020, and was given the number 11 shirt, but going into the tournament, Rashford's role as a starter appeared in doubt. On 11 July in the tournament final against Italy, Rashford was brought on as a substitute in the final minutes of extra time. He was chosen to take the team's third penalty during the subsequent shoot-out but his effort hit the post and went wide, and Italy went on to win the tournament after saving two more penalties. After the loss, Rashford was subjected to racially abusive messages on social media, and a street mural honouring him in Withington was vandalised. Residents quickly filled the wall with hearts and messages of support for Rashford, and street artist Akse returned to restore the mural to its original form.
After undergoing surgery on his shoulder, Rashford missed England's next squad for World Cup qualification games against Group I opponents Hungary, Andorra, and Poland, but returned to the squad for November's qualification games against Albania and San Marino, before being forced to withdraw due to illness. Due to a drop in form for United during the 2021–22 season, he was not called up to the England for March 2022 friendlies against Switzerland and Ivory Coast, and again in June for four Nations League matches against Hungary, Germany, and Italy, with Southgate saying Rashford and club teammate Jadon Sancho had a lot to do to get back in the squad for the World Cup. Rashford subsequently failed to receive a call-up for England's next squad in September for the final two Nations League matches against Italy and Germany.