The 18-year-old crowned a powerful and energetic performance with a wonderfully taken goal in the 16th minute, which proved enough to give the bragging rights to the red half of the city.
A number of Man United fans were tentative when they saw Rashford’s inclusion in the starting XI; it was his eighth start in a row, and, in such a highly charged contest, it felt as if fatigue might have come into play. But as it was, Rashford was an effervescent figure throughout, much to the delight of all United fans:
If you are good enough you are old enough…. #Rashford
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) March 20, 2016
Marcus Rashford has just taken the soul of a guy who played 170+ games for Bayern Munich.
— United Religion (@Unitedology) March 20, 2016
How effortless was that from Rashford? Woeful defending from City, but a lovely turn of pace and a neat finish. Big game player already.
— Liam Canning (@LiamPaulCanning) March 20, 2016
Marcus Rashford has just stuck two fingers up to Carragher and everyone else who said he shouldn't be in the team. So damn cool! 👏👏👏
— Hayles (@Hayles_101) March 20, 2016
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) March 20, 2016
The story of Rashford has been nothing short of unbelievable. In a season where Leicester City are title favourites whilst last year’s champions lie in mid-table obscurity, United fans are seeing their own remarkable fairytale unfold.
It was no coincidence that the only Mancunian on the pitch was the one who decided this contest. Indeed, Rashford characterised the power, energy and desire demanded by a Manchester derby. Instead of shrinking, he played with the warrior-like spirit that United fans yearn to see.
And perhaps this was best illustrated in the latter stages of the game: with City furiously piling bodies forward, Rashford – ridden with cramp and overwhelming fatigue – somehow found enough strength to take the ball and run the entire length of the pitch. Above anything, the spirit and passion of this youngster is what had United fans purring most as they recorded their first away derby win in the post-Ferguson era.