Marcus Rashford
Rashford not the only teenager in Manchester building a reputation as one of the league's most potent strikers. Getty

The first meeting of the season between Manchester United and Manchester City isn't short of star power. Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Leroy Sane and Claudio Bravo are among those to join an A-List cast. And having already waged war in Spain, Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have a new battleground in the north-west to continue their explosive rivalry.

Between them, the two clubs spent over £310m rebuilding their squads after last season's disappointments. It's a derby thoroughly rejuvenated with Premier League glory now firmly back on the agenda for both clubs. But amid all the change, it's two youngsters who could have the most decisive roles to play at Old Trafford on Saturday (10 September).

Both Kelechi Iheanacho and Marcus Rashford have shown pressure isn't something that concerns them. 19-year-old Iheanacho, who formally signed from City on his 18<sup>th birthday in October 2014 after starring at the 2013 Under-17 World Cup, emerged as a potent back-up option for Manuel Pellegrini. During the 2015-16 season, his debut campaign, he struck eight Premier League goals, registering the best goals-per minute ratio in the league, one every 93.9 minutes to be precise. In all competitions, he notched 14 goals in 35 appearances. In no time, he displaced Wilfried Bony as Sergio Aguero's understudy and with the Ivorian having left to join Stoke City on loan it's a role he will continue this season.

Rashford's spectacular rise has continued this season. After coming off the bench to score a last minute winner against Hull City before the international break, the 18-year-old went onto score a hat-trick in his first appearance for England's Under-21 side midweek. It continued a remarkable trend he has set for himself, having already scored on his European, Premier League and senior England debuts.

Of the two, Iheanacho is the more likely to start. Sergio Aguero's three-match ban for an elbow on West Ham's Winston Reid rules him out of the contest and while none of us would put it past Pep to start without a striker in his starting XI, the Nigerian teenager is surely in contention. Twice he has come off the bench in the league this term against Sunderland and Stoke City, playing a combined 17 minutes, but still finding an assist for Nolito in the 4-1 win over the Potters.

Kelechi Iheanacho
Iheanacho's figures made him the league's most prolific striker last season. Getty

For obvious reasons, starts have come at a premium for him but he seldom wastes his chances when they come. In a rare run in the first team during the final weeks of the 2015-16 season, the teenager grabbed a brace in a 4-0 win over Stoke City, following it up with another two the following week against Southampton, albeit in a 4-2 defeat. He concluded the campaign with another strike away to Swansea City.

Rashford's mid-week hat-trick and his last-minute exploits against Hull have many clamouring for his start in the derby. Mourinho has named unchanged XIs in his opening three games as United manager and the teenager is very unlikely to usurp Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the focal point of attack. Anthony Martial's indifferent start to the season could see Mourinho consider the England international for a role out on the left. He will almost certainly make an appearance off the bench, particularly should United be chasing a goal, as they were last time out when he emerged from the shadows to rescue his side again.

That strike at the KCOM Stadium took his tally to nine goals in 20 appearances having struck eight in 18 under Louis van Gaal last term. His return trails that of Iheanacho slightly; hardly a criticism given the Nigerian's superb statistics.

And let's not forget, it was Rashford's superb individual effort that sank City the last time these two sides met, dragging the ball away from Martin Demichelis as he burst through the City defence before providing a nerveless finish past Joe Hart.

Both Rashford and Iheanacho have already shown they feel perfectly at home among United and City's established stars. While Mourinho vs Guardiola is the relentless narrative of the day ahead of the first derby of the season, a showdown between the two young strikers could become the theme of the fixture in the coming years. Why can't it start on Saturday?