Home News Marcus Rashford breaks Ryan Giggs’ record with landmark Man Utd appearance

Marcus Rashford breaks Ryan Giggs’ record with landmark Man Utd appearance

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Marcus Rashford breaks Ryan Giggs’ record with landmark Man Utd appearance

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For the first time in what felt like an age, Marcus Rashford was actually smiling while on the pitch for Manchester United. Yet, it was a grin of incredulity as he looked on in disbelief at the red card being thrust his way.

What had been one of United’s most impressive performances of the season – not an entirely competitive honour admittedly – was derailed by the second dismissal of Rashford’s career. In his absence, United conceded four goals against Copenhagen in midweek to slump to the club’s ninth defeat in 17 games this term.

Amid this collective turmoil, Rashford has endured a bleak individual run in front of goal, finding the net just once all season – a third of Scott McTominay’s haul.

At perhaps the lowest ebb of Rashford’s career, he brings up a landmark appearance for United that underscores his unmistakable talent.

By lining up for United against Luton Town on Saturday, Rashford earned his 250th Premier League appearance. Less than two weeks after his 26th birthday, Rashford is the youngest player to ever hit this milestone for Manchester United, surpassing the legendarily prodigious Ryan Giggs.

David Beckham Ryan Giggs

Ryan Giggs (left) and David Beckham were part of United’s fabled Class of ’92 that racked up so many appearances / Alex Livesey/GettyImages

Player

Year of 250th PL appearance

Age at 250th PL appearance

Marcus Rashford

2023

26 years and 11 days

Ryan Giggs

2000

26 years and 167 days

Wayne Rooney

2012

26 years and 195 days

David Beckham

2002

27 years and 240 days

Gary Neville

2003

27 years and 317 days

Phil Neville

2004

27 years and 342 days

David de Gea

2018

28 years and 17 days

Paul Scholes

2003

28 years and 85 days

Nicky Butt

2003

28 years and 207 days

John O’Shea

2011

29 years and 302 days

Roy Keane

2003

31 years and 161 days

Patrice Evra

2013

32 years and 179 days

Rio Ferdinand

2011

33 years and 26 days

Michael Carrick

2014

33 years and 127 days

Denis Irwin

1999

34 years and 34 days

Peter Schmeichel

1999

35 years and 172 days

By the inaugural Premier League season which kicked off in the summer of 1992, Giggs was already a Manchester United regular as a teenager. When he finished that maiden campaign as the club’s second-top scorer, he was still living at home with his step-father and mother, who would not hesitate in telling him off for having a messy bedroom.

Giggs eventually racked up 632 Premier League appearances – a record in the competition until Gareth Barry surpassed his haul in 2017. The 13-time Premier League champion had been retired for less than two years when Rashford made his Premier League debut in 2016, with Giggs the assistant to manager Louis van Gaal. At just 18, Rashford marked his maiden top-flight appearance with a brace against Arsenal.

The Gunners are the only club to concede a goal scored by Rashford this term – though his drought has not been for a lack of trying.

Going into this weekend’s round of fixtures, only Manchester City’s Erling Haaland had taken more Premier League shots than Rashford. However, no player in the division has had more of their efforts blocked.

Erik ten Hag declared that he wants his United side to be “the best transition team in the world”. “We want to surprise. We want to play dynamic, we want to play with speed, we want to play aggressive,” the upbeat coach chirped during pre-season.

Ten Hag explained that this style was in keeping with Manchester United’s history but it also perfectly lined up with Rashford’s strengths. Only two Premier League players scored more goals via counter-attacks than United’s fleet-footed number ten last term.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford has struggled for form throughout the season / James Gill – Danehouse/GettyImages

Rashford’s only strike of the current campaign came at the sharp end of a breakaway against Arsenal but United have struggled to consistently create these chances in transition. A combination of conflicting factors – be that the club’s off-field turmoil, a clunky integration of new players and opposition teams alert to United’s strengths (and limitations) – has contributed to this drop-off.

Every player to rack up 250 Premier League appearances for United has won the title – apart from Rashford. All those individuals had the benefit of playing under Sir Alex Ferguson, a luxury and security which Rashford has never enjoyed.

There’s little doubt that Rashford’s individual form is swayed by the collective mood at United. While racking up a career-best 30 goals last term, Rashford explained that “a completely different energy around the club and the training ground” put him “in a better headspace”.

Ahead of Saturday’s match with Luton, Ten Hag underscored the dramatically contrasting energy looming over United and Rashford. “He is not happy. We are not happy,” the Dutchman bluntly stated.

Rashford should take pride in reaching a landmark appearance at a younger age than any other player in the modern history of United – a club that was propelled to success by Ferguson’s faith in youth. But it would probably take a goal, or another controversial red card, for him to smile again.

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