Two goals in his first Europa League game, two more in his Premier League debut: Marcus Rashford has exploded onto the scene with his maiden strikes in a Manchester United shirt and fans have fallen in love with this romantic tale of local boy to cult hero.
With his teenage heroics against Midtjylland and Arsenal, the 18-year-old has secured himself a place on a list of highly prominent footballers who celebrated breath-taking debuts in their younger years.
1. Alan Smith - Leeds United (1998)
The blonde-haired forward needed just one touch on his professional debut to score the equaliser in Leeds’ Premier League game against Liverpool in 1998. Now that’s a way to mark your first appearance off the bench. Not long before, Alan Smith had celebrated his 18th birthday. No wonder the Elland Road faithful were delighted with their local boy.
2. Alan Shearer - Southampton (1988)
Yes, even Alan Shearer was a young striker at some point in his career. The future goal machine made his starting team debut in 1988 at the age of just 17. Arsenal were the opponents in what turned out to be one of most outstanding debuts in British football history. Not one, not two, the later England captain scored a hat-trick in his first game, becoming the youngest ever player to do so in the English leagues. It also marked the start of one of the most iconic goal celebrations in football.
3. Bobby Charlton - Manchester United (1956)
Manager Matt Busby was so impressed by the 18-year-old Bobby Charlton in 1956 that he gave the youngster a spot in his side. The midfielder scored two goals on his debut against Charlton Athletic and more impressive heroics would come afterwards, especially at the World Cup in 1966.
4. Robbie Fowler - Liverpool (1993)
What a start to an amazing career! Robbie Fowler made an instant name for himself in the 1993 League Cup, scoring two goals on his Liverpool debut against Fulham. In the second leg the 18-year-old topped his first performance by bagging all five in a 5-0 win for the Reds. Many many goals would follow…
5. Wayne Rooney - Manchester United (2004)
Marcus Rashford obviously learned from one of the best, and now he is playing in the same team as Wayne Rooney. Having signed from Everton, ‘Wazza’ celebrated his Champions League debut for Manchester United against Fenerbahce in 2004 and what a debut it was. A hat-trick for the 18-year-old in the 6-2 victory against the Turkish side confirmed to the world what an outrageous talent he was.
6. Michael Owen - Liverpool (1997)
1997 was the year that English football first encountered Michael Owen. The 17-year-old striker crowned his Liverpool first team debut against Wimbledon in May with his side’s only goal in a 2-1 defeat. At the World Cup a year later, a Maradona-esque goal against Argentina truly announced his arrival on the global stage.