With his spectacular strike against Bulgaria on Monday night, Marcus Rashford scored his first goal from open play since August.
Having been shoe-horned into Man United’s centre-forward position since the injury to Anthony Martial, Rashford has struggled for form.
Many fans even believed he was lucky to receive a call-up into Gareth Southgate’s latest England squad at all – never mind a place in the starting line-up.
But just seven minutes into the Three Lions’ Euro 2020 qualifier in Sofia, Rashford received the ball on the left wing and lost his marker with a terrific Cruyff turn, before smashing a rising shot into the net from the tightest of angles for England’s first of six goals on the night.
In many ways, it was a moment that perfectly summed up Rashford’s short career so far.
Since bursting onto the scene in early 2016, the young forward has dished out plenty of anonymous displays, peppered with occasional brilliance.
More often than not he can be very frustrating to watch, especially for his club side, and has certainly not grown into the player we all thought he would be by now.
In a recent interview, former Liverpool midfielder Stan Collymore even claimed Rashford is in danger of becoming the new Theo Walcott.
But while a lack of consistency is Rashford’s biggest overall problem, he at least has time on his side to improve.
After all, he doesn’t turn 22 until the end of October.
What’s more, playing in a United side that is in a constant state of transition and under three different managers since making his debut, all of whom have played him in slightly different ways, certainly hasn’t helped matters.
Nevertheless, the spotlight is constantly on him, and he’s often the first to be blamed when United fail to score.
This season has been his most desperate so far.
With his club struggling around mid-table, the pressure is clearly getting to the local lad and he looked particularly lost in United’s recent defeats to West Ham and Newcastle.
But while he’s undoubtedly out of form, critics must remember that he’s been playing out of position for the most part and is probably playing with an injury, all the while struggling with the billing as United’s main attacking outlet.
Replacing someone like Romelu Lukaku, who’s style of play and pedigree for goals is vastly different to his own, was never going to be easy.
Still, the ultimate worry for fans and neutrals alike is that Rashford will never quite fulfil his potential.
His billboard moments – the various ‘debut’ goals he scored for both club and country in his first season, the super strike against Costa Rica in 2018, the curling free-kick against West Ham – will live long in the memory.
But they need to start occurring more frequently if he’s to ever appease his critics.
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