Two players with the world at their feet.
Marco Asensio and Marcus Rashford could well be the future of the world’s two biggest clubs.
They have something else in common as well — they both made a mockery of the concept of ‘debut nerves’ time after time.
Rashford’s league debut goal is unforgettable.
Three days after his brace in the Europa League (more on that in a bit) the boy wonder latched on to a loose ball to put Man United one-nil up against long-time rivals Arsenal at Old Trafford.
He didn’t wait long for the sequel either, doubling the lead with a confident header three minutes later in what must go down as one of the most memorable performances from a teenager in Premier League history.
Whereas Rashford’s goal(s) was all about context, Asensio’s was all about class.
The young Spaniard started Real Madrid’s La Liga opener against Real Sociedad in 2016 and doubled the visitors’ lead in the first half with a sublime chip over the keeper after expertly bringing Raphael Varane’s long ball over the top under control.
WINNER: The quality of Asensio’s goal is undeniable but, given the context, it has to be Rashford. (1-0 Rashford)
Rashford made his debut in the Europa League against prone-to-typos side FC Midtjylland.
The debutant showed his predatory instincts, popping up in the right place at the time not once but twice as United exorcised the ghosts of their 2-1 loss in Denmark with a 5-1 thrashing on home soil.
Being a local lad and a Man United fan, Rashford managed to secure his status as fan favourite in his very first game for the club.
Weirdly, Asensio’s goal on European debut also came in a 5-1 home win.
Legia Warsaw were the victims with Asensio scoring the third, a composed but regulation finish from 15 yards.
WINNER: Asensio gets extra points for his coming in the Champions League but again we’re edging it to Rashford for the hype factor, plus he scored twice. (2-0 Rashford)
Not the most glamourous fixtures for either of our wonderkids.
Rashford scored from literally a yard out in the League Cup against Northampton after benefiting from a calamitous keeper error — bonus points for smashing it in with all his might unnecessarily.
As for Asensio, he scored Madrid’s second of seven in his first ever Copa del Rey game against Cultural Leonesa from Spain’s third tier.
Lucas Vazquez fed his buddy in the middle and Asensio needed just one touch to set himself before firing into the bottom corner.
WINNER: Has to be Asensio. (2-1 Rashford)
Slight difference here, Asensio scored against Barcelona not in his first El Clasico but in his first Spanish Super Cup game whereas Rashford scored in his first game against Man City but of course it wasn’t his first Premier League game. Got it?
Anyway, Rashford christened his first derby by sending Martin Demichellis back to Argentina before slotting his finish between Joe Hart’s legs.
United won 2-0 and Rashford became the youngest scorer in a Manchester derby ever and the first actual Mancunian to score in one since Paul Scholes in 2010.
Asensio’s strike happened only a few days ago but it’s worth a revisit for sure, as is his follow-up in the second-leg last night.
The 21-year-old scored Madrid’s third of the night in the first leg to give them a two-goal lead over their rivals — and what a goal it was.
Once again it was Lucas Vazquez with the assist as he slid in Asensio on the break.
With Gerard Pique for company, Asensio coolly drifted into the box before unleashing a piledriver that caught Marc-Andre ter Stegen off guard before nearly ripping a hole in the net.
WINNER: It may have only come in the Spanish equivalent of the the Community Shield but El Clasico is El Clasico and Asensio’s finish was genuinely astounding. (2-2)
Rashford’s other debut goals came for England Under-21s and the senior national team.
The bullied his way to a hat-trick against Norway’s next generation and scored an instinctive volley against Australia at the Stadium of Light in a pre-Euro 2016 friendly.
No such luck for Asensio with Spain but he did score one of the greatest European Super Cup goals of all time against Sevilla in 2016.
The game at the Lerkendal Stadium is remembered for yet another injury-time Sergio Ramos equaliser but Asensio opened the scoring in that game with a 30-yard thunderbolt right into the top corner.
WINNER: Again, Asensio is ahead in terms of quality of goal but Rashford has an extra debut goal (as part of a hat-trick no less) to fall back on and his record is spread across both club and country. It’s a tough one and you know what… we’ve bottled it.
Call it a draw, lads! (FINAL SCORE 2-2)