Marcus Rashford can break Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United goalscoring record, according to his former youth-team coach.
Colin Little, United’s academy assistant coach, believes the forward could surpass Rooney’s tally of 253 for the Old Trafford club.
Rashford has 77 goals in 232 United appearances having scored twice on his debut in 2016.
Rooney broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s previous record of 249 against Stoke in 2017.
Rashford has said he wants to stay at Old Trafford for the rest of his career and, ahead of Saturday’s Manchester derby at Old Trafford, Little feels he has a shot at becoming the club’s record scorer.
“No-one wants to set goals but you keep doing what you’re doing and all of a sudden those things are in sight,” the former Crewe striker told the PA news agency. “He’s not going anywhere else and is concentrating on the club.
“If you look at Harry Kane’s goalscoring record he didn’t start off scoring 30 goals a season, you build it up.
“He’s on the right trajectory if you look at the stats for someone so young – appearances, goals, assists. If he stays injury free he’s going to be breaking records like Kane is. He can be anything he wants, what’s to stop him?
“I watched him against (Kylian) Mbappe the other day and he is one of the best young players in the world.”
Rashford came through United’s academy and grew up just five miles away from Old Trafford in Wythenshawe and has no desire to leave.
The 23-year-old told the Sports Journalists’ Association on Thursday: “I never look beyond Manchester United. As a kid I never looked beyond Manchester United. In my mind it wouldn’t sit right for me to be pulling on another shirt. I just want to do my best for the club while I’m here. Long term hopefully.”
Little helped develop the forward before he broke into United’s first team in stunning style with four goals in his first two games.
The 48-year-old and those who have played a key role in the England international’s development have won the Coaching Chain award at the UK Coaching Awards.
Louis Van Gaal – who gave Rashford his United debut – along with coaches throughout his career, David Horrocks, Dave Bushell, Eamon Mulvey, Maria Kelly, Neil Harris, Paul McGuinness, Stuart Leicester, Tarun Kapur and Tony Whelan have collectively won the award.
Little said: “Everyone has played a massive part, his family, the drivers who take them to training down to the people who serve them dinner. If they ever thought he wasn’t saying please or thank you they’d put him into line.
“They don’t get enough of a mention, the coaches have the easy part when they are as good as him.”
In 2020 Rashford has become a pioneer for social change, having successfully persuaded the Government to extend free school meal vouchers during the summer holidays and receiving an MBE from the Queen for his services to vulnerable children during the COVID-19 crisis.
Horrocks helped coach Rashford when he joined Fletcher Moss Rangers aged five and believes he has transcended football.
“Marcus is not just a footballer,” he said. “As footballers go, at such a young age he has the potential to be an A-List player in terms of celebrity status. He will become icon material at some stage.
“If he continues the way he is he will be an icon and is a fantastic example for other footballers and celebrities to get involved in powerful social issues.
“Indirectly he has probably helped 75-80 per cent of the kids who are part of our club.”
UK Coaching’s Chair Atholl Duncan added: “Coaches must also help young people find their voice in life.
“Marcus’s chain has done just that. They all should be incredibly proud of their role in making Marcus Rashford the outstanding individual he is today.”