Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford has been rewarded for his superb introduction to senior football and swift rise to prominence with a new long-term contract. The 18-year-old, who graduated from the academy after joining from prolific Didsbury-based junior outfit Fletcher Moss Rangers as a youngster, has put pen to paper on an improved four-year deal that includes the option of a further 12-month extension.
"I am delighted to have signed a new contract," he told the club's official website. "I have always been a Manchester United fan, so to be playing in the first team really is a dream come true. I am grateful for having the chance to prove myself. To be able to play football at the biggest club in the world means everything to me and my family."
Exact financial details relating to Rashford's new deal remain undisclosed, but previous reports from The Telegraph have stated that his weekly wage is expected to rise to approximately £20,000-per-week minus appearance and performance bonuses. The 18-year-old took advantage of a late injury suffered by Anthony Martial to score twice on his senior debut during a 5-1 Europa League victory over FC Midtjylland in February and quickly followed that up with another brace in a narrow home Premier League defeat of Arsenal.
He scored eight times in total during his first 18 senior club appearances to mark a stunning rise from U18 football. If that was not quite enough, the player was also named in England's provisional 26-man squad to compete at the European Championship finals in France this summer before becoming the youngest Three Lions player to score on their international debut in a 2-1 warm-up victory against Australia at the Stadium of Light. His place in the final selection to be announced on Tuesday (31 May) is likely to depend on the fitness of key rival Daniel Sturridge and/or the willingness of manager Roy Hodgson to travel with five forwards.
Alongside Rashford, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has also extended his stay at Old Trafford. The versatile 19-year-old defender made his first-team bow against West Brom in November 2015 and made 13 further appearances in total before the end of the season. Both players benefited from outgoing manager Louis van Gaal's unwavering faith in younger players, although it remains to be seen what opportunities will be afforded to them under replacement Jose Mourinho.
"I have grown up at United and have enjoyed every minute of being here," United's U21 Player of the Year said. "Last season was an incredible experience to make my first team debut and a dream come true for myself and my family. I feel it stands me in good stead for continuing my development as a Manchester United player. I will continue to work hard and take advice from the manager and his coaching team to improve with every training session."