THERE is a revolution brewing.
This week we have seen Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland emphasise their claims to the throne of the world’s best player.
Standing in their path are the old guard, namely Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, who may just be showing the first signs of decline.
But can Marcus Rashford join this youthful duo in storming the gates?
Named the world’s most valuable player by the respected CIES Football Observatory earlier in the year, it is certainly true that he has greatness in him.
So what does the Manchester United forward need to do to elevate himself to the very top level?
Technique, pace, vision and both a mental and physical strength are all abundant in Rashford’s arsenal.
But perhaps that final string to his bow still yet to arrive is that composure in front of goal.
In Thursday’s Europa League game against Real Sociedad, the 23-year-old put himself in a number of great positions and struck the third goal of a 4-0 win after a wobbly first-half.
In the second minute, he broke through one-on-one and placed his effort straight at Alex Remiro in the Spanish side’s goal.
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Then a veritable sitter came his way later in the half, teed up by Bruno Fernandes but again struck directly at the goalkeeper.
Fans could not be blamed for having their doubts over a man who had scored only two goals in 13 games ahead of the Turin trip.
And when Rashford did finally find the back of the next just after the hour mark, as United turned this potentially tricky Europa League clash into a rout, it certainly wasn’t for the lack of trying.
The England man broke in behind the Real Sociedad backline, opened up his body as we’ve seen many times before, and calmly showed his ruthless edge.
His seven goals in Europe this season are the most an Englishman has scored since Bobby Charlton in 1965, and second to only Haaland this year.
But it could have been many more.
It is true that the big competitions are often the making of world-class players but Rashford still has some way to go to match Mbappe and Haaland overall, given his career ratio of three games per goal for United.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward may play in a better team and a less renowned league but boasts a 1.37 games per goal tally, and such counter arguments could not be made of the Barcelona side he buried on Tuesday.
It is hard to make similar claims against Borussia Dortmund and yet Haaland still averages more-or-less a goal every game.
It is perhaps to Rashford’s detriment, in this particular regard, that he has upped his creative game of late, helping set up his side’s first two goals on Thursday.
A superstar like Ronaldo is expertly greedy to an almost insufferable level, something which the England star seems to be pulling away from rather than pushing towards.
Thursday also showed how United may need Rashford to close that scoring gap, given their reliance Bruno Fernandes for star power with Edinson Cavani their only other reliable finisher.
There is absolutely no doubt that Rashford will be a very good player for years to come and he may have his hands on some serious silverware before long.
But this week has seen a marker laid down by those heading for the very top, can he meet it?
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