Marcus Rashford apologised to supporters and conceded that emotions got the better of him after receiving the first red card of his senior career against Burnley.
The 20-year-old came on for Alexis Sanchez in the second half and lit up the left hand side with a series of penetrative runs, winning a penalty which Paul Pogba missed.
Rashford squared up to veteran defender Phil Bardsley who, knowing exactly what he was doing, got close enough – and provocative enough – to prompt the youngster into pressing his head forward, which gave the referee no choice but to send him off – just 11 minutes after he came on.
He took to social media after the game to issue an apology to supporters and his teammates for losing his cool.
Rashford’s gentle, humble demeanour makes it difficult to imagine any aggression on his part but, amid the frenzy of a Premier League game, sometimes you do need to get a bit nasty.
Supporters will never forget how the youngster, 18 at the time, squared up to four Manchester City players at the Ethiad, with Jesse Lingard later storming in. That kind of aggression – not too much, not malicious, well timed and designed to show you won’t be pushed around – can play to your advantage. It certainly did on the day.
Against Burnley, however, he took it too far, essentially falling into Bardsley’s trap. It is what you would describe as a learning curve, and he will be better off because of it in the long run.