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Transfer Rater: Courtois to Juventus


Rashford joins Rooney and Martial as the latest teen United wonder

Marcus Rashford surpassed George Best as the youngest European goalscorer in Manchester United's history when the 18-year-old scored twice in the 5-1 win against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League last 32 on Thursday night.

It was a dream debut for the United fan, born in Wythenshawe, England, and it carried on a tradition of teenagers scoring on their debuts for the club.

It reflects United's recent history of fearlessness when it comes to injecting youth into the first team, trusting them and getting a response.

The likes of Paul Scholes and Wayne Rooney enjoyed fine debuts, scoring two against Port Vale and a hat trick against Fenerbahce, respectively, while others fell by the wayside. The challenge for Rashford is to avoid being one of those.

Here, we reflect on teenagers who scored on their United debuts and what happened in their careers ...

Paul Scholes

When was his debut?

In the modest surroundings of Vale Park in September 1994, a 19-year-old Paul Scholes made his debut against Port Vale in the League Cup. A youthful United side fell behind early on but Salford-born Scholes scored both goals as they fought back to win 2-1. First came a neatly lofted finish to equalise, then a header to win the game. Scholes played alongside the likes of David Beckham and Nicky Butt as Alex Ferguson trusted youth -- a decision that enraged the member of parliament for Stoke North, Joan Walley, so much that she complained to the Football League. The trio went on to become heroes of the all-conquering Treble winning side five years later.

What happened next?

Scholes became a United legend, playing 713 times in a one-club career that did not end until he was 38. He won 11 Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups. There were also two Champions League triumphs to enjoy with the second one against Chelsea in 2008 particularly sweet, as he had missed the final of the first success against Bayern Munich in 1999 through suspension.

Wayne Rooney

When was his debut?

You'd forgive Rooney for feeling rusty on his first appearance after breaking a metatarsal for England at Euro 2004. It would have been understandable had nerves got the better of the teenager on his debut following a £24 million move to Manchester United. Instead, Old Trafford witnessed arguably the greatest, most explosive debut in its history when Rooney, 18, scored an incredible hat trick in a 6-2 Champions League demolition of Fenerbahce in the Champions League group stages. The crowning glory was a sumptuous free kick buried into the net in the Stretford End.

What happened next?

Quite a lot. With 244 goals in 511 appearances and counting, Rooney needs just six more to become the club's leading scorer of all-time, surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton. A haul of five league titles, the Champions League, two League Cups and the Club World Cup means Rooney will go down as a Manchester United legend -- and an absolute bargain.

Wayne Rooney remains the example to follow for teenagers scoring on their Manchester United debut.

Federico Macheda

When was his debut?

In April 2009, Macheda, a 17-year-old substitute, was thrown into action against Aston Villa, with United trailing 2-1 at Old Trafford. An equaliser from Cristiano Ronaldo levelled the scores with 10 minutes to go and then in injury time, Macheda turned in the penalty area and curled in a late winner.

What happened next?

Macheda's superb start continued when he scored again, just 46 seconds into his next appearance, away in a 2-1 win against Sunderland. The Italian suffered injury problems, though, and the goals started to dry up. He was loaned out to Sampdoria, QPR, VfB Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City before being released. The Italian is now at Championship club Cardiff City and has yet to score this season in eight appearances.

Nick Powell

When was his debut?

Powell, an 18-year-old who Ferguson had high hopes for, was sent on for the final 20 minutes of a home match against Wigan Athletic in September 2012, replacing Ryan Giggs. United were cruising 3-0 at the time, but there was still time for late excitement as Powell fired in from the edge of the penalty area.

What happened next?

Powell's promising start continued as he featured in six United games during his debut season and he then went on loan for the next campaign to Wigan, where he finished with 12 goals. Has failed to build from there and is currently on loan at Championship club Hull City.

James Wilson

When was his debut?

Wilson, 18, was handed a start against Hull by caretaker manager Ryan Giggs back in May 2014. Wilson did not let him down, clinically finishing twice in a 3-1 win against the FA Cup finalists.

What happened next?

Wilson's next game after facing Hull was United's humiliating 4-0 defeat at MK Dons in the Capital One Cup in August 2014. He still went on to make 16 more appearances for the club that season, scoring two goals; against QPR and Cambridge. Now on loan at Championship club Brighton and has scored three in 15 games.

Anthony Martial became an instant United hero when he scored on his debut against Liverpool.

Anthony Martial

When was his debut?

Martial's £36 million arrival -- potentially rising near £60m -- raised eyebrows on transfer deadline day last summer but the then-19-year-old made a brilliant first impression against Liverpool at Old Trafford. He came on in the 65th minute with United up 1-0 but nerves were frayed when Christian Benteke pulled one back for Liverpool after Ander Herrera's penalty had made it 2-0. But Martial made the game safe with a sensational run, bamboozling Martin Skrtel, before firing home a clinical finish past Simon Mignolet.

What happened next?

Martial has gone on to be a rare success story for United during a difficult season, clocking up 42 appearances. During that time, he has managed 10 goals with the most recent coming in a 2-1 defeat at Sunderland. He missed Thursday night's game against Midtjylland after being injured in the warm-up, giving Rashford his opportunity.

Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.


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