I was a Man Utd academy coach – Rashford’s talent stood out but he never found it as effortless as cult hero
MARCUS RASHFORD stood out while coming through the ranks at Manchester United.
But his ability wasn’t as “effortless” as Ravel Morrison’s was, claims former Red Devils youth coach Neil Ryan.
The 48-year-old left Old Trafford last summer to become England Under-18s boss – having worked at United for 19 years.
During his time with the Red Devils, Morrison and Rashford were two of the best players he worked with.
But it wasn’t straightforward for either, with the latter suffering a confidence crisis as a teen that even made him want to play in a different position.
Speaking to FourFourTwo, Ryan said of Rashford: “In the Under 12s and Under 13s he was fantastic and often up against older boys.
“You didn’t feel that it was effortless like it was with Ravel Morrison.
“Marcus’ attitude and talent always stood out, but aged 14 he had a confidence crisis and wanted to be a holding midfielder.
“I recall talking to his mother and brothers. He spoke about wanting to get on the ball more.
“He didn’t have the pace then to burn past others because he was still growing, but we always thought he’d be a forward.”
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The decision to keep Rashford, now 25, as a forward has paid off, with the academy product so far bagging 120 goals for his boyhood club.
He has hit particularly deadly form this season, scoring 27 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions – with only Erling Haaland, Harry Kane and Ivan Toney netting more Prem goals.
Man United icon Rio Ferdinand once claimed that Morrison could have been a “£100million player”.
He told the Beautiful Game Podcast: “I used to tell him to come to my house but Sir Alex wanted me to step away from doing stuff with Ravel because he felt the club could deal with the situation.
“But this goes back to my earlier point about Gavin [Rose, Dulwich Hamlet manager].
“If Gavin was at Manchester United back then, then I don’t think Ravel slips through the net, I think Ravel becomes a £100m player.
“But there wasn’t someone like that at United then and even now I don’t see people like that at clubs”
Morrison made three first team appearances for United before being sold to West Ham amid off-field troubles.
He has since experienced a nomadic career, having short stints with Birmingham, QPR, Cardiff, Lazio, Atlas, Ostersund, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and ADO Den Hag.
The midfielder has found some consistency in recent years by working with former United team-mate Wayne Rooney.
Wazza, 37, signed the 30-year-old for Derby County while boss there, before bringing him over to D.C. United in MLS.