Match Rewind: Vote for the best Man Utd debut


The context is different when Liverpool are in town – or when we go to Anfield, for that matter – and the nature and timing of Martial’s first United goal thrust him a good way down the path to superstardom. Second-half goals from Daley Blind and Ander Herrera had given us a 2-0 lead over Brendan Rodgers’ side, but a stunning overhead kick from Christian Benteke had given the Scousers hope with just over five minutes left. But almost immediately after, the ball was worked out to Martial on the left wing. Despite the narrow advantage, despite the little time remaining on the clock, he unhesitatingly moved inwards towards goal, towards danger. You know the rest. Easing past the Liverpool defence, he found himself one-on-one with Simon Mignolet, who was easily bypassed with the trademark Martial-style finish: a smooth, curled, instep sweep across the goalkeeper. A beautiful moment for Old Trafford; a glorious debut for the young Frenchman.




Later that same season, it was Martial’s misfortune that offered another young hopeful their first-team debut. The 20-year-old had been due to start the second leg of our round-of-32 UEFA Europa League tie with FC Midtjylland – which we trailed 2-1 – but went down in the warm-up. Enter the teenage Marcus Rashford – a player whom only a few keen youth-team observers were closely aware of at that stage.


Within four days, Rashford was near enough a household name, after two goals on debut against the Danes (helping United thrash Midtjylland 5-1 to progress) and another two against Arsenal in the Premier League. In case you’ve been away for a while, he’s become quite the footballer. But it all began here, with a fearless display in a pressure situation, leading the line for his boyhood club.


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