Manchester United: Marcus Rashford deserves Mbappe comparisons, but he’s not there… yet

Kylian Mbappe is the most talked-about teenager in football, but Manchester United's Marcus Rashford could soon catch up

Their positions, style and early introduction into first team football has led to comparisons aplenty between the pair. Phil Neville recently claimed Marcus Rashford is as good as Kylian Mbappe.

Because he’s English we just say ‘he plays on the left wing, he’s OK’. He is up there with Dembele and Mbappe, who also play on either wing. People say you have to play Rashford as a centre-forward but you can play him anywhere because he is good enough.

Steven Gerrard meanwhile, whilst certainly praising the ability and potential of Rashford, believes Mbappe is a league above and the next global superstar.

But which of the two is currently better?

Mbappe’s talents

Mbappe broke onto the European scene last season as a young 18-year-old. His quality was obvious from the get go and he quickly established himself in the first XI at Monaco despite his tender years.

He ended up scoring a total of 26 goals for Monaco last year, with 15 coming in their first Ligue 1 title win since 2000. However, it was on the European stage where Mbappe really made a name for himself.

He scored more goals in the knockout stages of the Champions League than any other player last season and finished the campaign with six goals in nine games in Europe’s elite competition.

Mbappe was making some of the best defences in world football look pedestrian and Sunday league. The maturity and intelligence he displayed in every game was remarkable for an 18-year-old, and never once looked fazed on the biggest stage, instead relishing the opportunity to show the world what he was all about.

Glowing comparisons with Thierry Henry were made due to their nationality and style, however Mbappe is a far more complete player than Henry was at the same age. It led to PSG bringing Mbappe in on loan but with an obligation to pay an incredible £165 million for the youngster, making him the second most expensive player ever, despite, again, being only 18 years old.

Mbappe has made a flying start to life at the French giants. A debut goal, unplayable performances, including the 3-0 rout against Bayern Munich have only further affirmed Mbappe’s status as one of the world’s most talented teenagers. There is a valid argument he is already a global superstar.

Mbappe’s intelligence in his movement, creating space for himself and others, timing, raw pace and technical skills already make him one of the world’s best.

But is that also not the case with Rashford?

Rashford’s brilliance

He was handed his debut as an 18-year-old for United, seemingly out of the blue due to an injury crisis. However, he netted twice against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League. He followed that up with a double on his Premier League debut against Arsenal.

In fact, not only has Rashford scored on his Premier League and Europa League debut, he has also netted on his first ever Champions League game, FA Cup and League Cup tie, and England under 21 and full England debut. Again, he is someone who relishes the big occasion and doesn’t get fazed.

He has netted 24 goals for United, despite often being resigned to a bench role and a place out wide. However, his form this season has made him almost un-droppable.

Rashford has netted five times in his first 11 appearances and has looked a threat in every game he has played. He has similar blistering pace to Mbappe and is also a wonderful dribbler with the ball, able to go inside and outside his opponent.

Rashford has every type of finish in his locker and is extremely intelligent in his off the ball movement. The similarities between both he and Mbappe are obvious, and certainly warranted. Perhaps however, as good as Rashford is, Mbappe has that little bit extra.

Rashford can at times still display that rawness and inexperience whilst Mbappe looks as though he has been playing first team football for a decade. The consistency is what currently separates them.

Mbappe is unplayable more often, despite playing in a weaker league.

Their abilities and potential may be similar and whilst Mbappe currently has the edge, don’t bet against Rashford reaching similar levels of superstardom.

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Harry Brooks