Why Marcus Rashford Deserves the Iconic (Cursed) Number Seven Shirt at Manchester United

Although Manchester United have had as much luck finding a suitable number seven of late as Liverpool have had winning Premier League titles, perhaps there is a man right under their noses who would be worthy of the iconic shirt - Marcus Rashford.

Since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2009, the shirt number has been passed on like a poisoned chalice, seemingly inhibiting the performances of everyone who was to wear it.

After Ronaldo, the cursed number was handed to new arrival Michael Owen, but with his career in a sharp decline, he essentially only scored one noteworthy goal – a late winner against Man City.

Manchester United v Galatasaray - UEFA Champions League

After a bizarre brief spell on the back of Antonio Valencia, the number passed to the mercurial Angel Di Maria who was gone sooner than he'd arrived.

With the next recipient Memphis Depay suffering a similar fate, new signing Alexis Sanchez took on the mantle in 2018, but his United career has perhaps flopped as badly as any of the names mentioned above.

With Sanchez's future uncertain at the club, the number seven shirt is up for grabs, and few players could be more deserving than Rashford.

Despite a possible arrival of fellow Englishman Jadon Sancho - who just so happens to wear seven for Borussia Dortmund - it would be refreshing to see United offer this iconic number to one of their own.

While the number may seem arbitrary for some, for United the number seven has become a symbol of greatness and has been worn by icons of the club in the past.

The likes of George Best and Bryan Robson were notable members of the seven club back in the day, while the Premier League era has seen three legends take on the heavy burden - Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Ronaldo.

While Cantona and Ronaldo assumed the number on their arrival, Beckham was awarded the shirt after a few promising seasons at Old Trafford, and would represent a parallel to young Rashford.

Like Beckham, Rashford has seen his stock continue to rise after bursting onto the scene, and would take the former Real Madrid man's path of moving from number ten to number seven.

While it may seem perhaps too soon to offer such a reward to United's new hero, his performances this season especially have highlighted his ability as a leader in the side.

His 14 league goals in 22 appearances prior to injury represents a good return for the England international, and is a sign of promising things to come in the future.

Equally, as a United man born and bred, surely no player would be more proud and deserving of taking on such an esteemed number.

Yet, this prestigious honour should not be seen as some token gesture offered to a player out of the academy, but a deserved achievement for his continued impressive performances since his dramatic entrance to senior football in 2016.

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25th Feb 2016 ❤️

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In this post-Sir Alex Ferguson nightmare that United fans have found themselves in, there have been no greater shining lights than that of Rashford.

As managers have come and gone, the 22-year-old has been an ever-present, shaking off the shackles of Jose Mourinho's leadership and emerging as the spearhead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's attack.

Even with the rumoured signing of Sancho - as well as the arrival of the 'god' that is Bruno Fernandes - there are few players at Old Trafford that are loved both on and off the pitch as much as 'Rashy'.

His continued presence on social media throughout the coronavirus pandemic has been heartwarming, as he continues to show everything fans hope a player should be.

United and Manchester's new poster boy will surely face continued tests of fitness and form in the coming seasons, yet as part of an exciting attack alongside Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood, perhaps there will be better days ahead at the Theatre of Dreams.

Source : 90min