While Iheanacho and Rashford are incredibly talented youngsters, the Manchester United forward tops his counterpart with his overall play.
Since Abu Dhabi United Group splashed a huge sum to acquire Manchester City in 2008, the vision has been to become everything their rivals, United are. They are sure on their way to achieving that having won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup, and two League Cups since 2008. Since the purchase of the club, City have won two League titles, just one shy of their more illustrious neighbours, United. Yes, they are catching up.
Currently, the latest rivalry between the two comes from two brightest young talents in Manchester, Kelechi Iheanacho and Marcus Rashford. Both teenagers emerged last season and the stats behind their rise in football is nothing but staggering.
Iheanacho was promoted to City’s first team last season by former manager Manuel Pellegrini. Although the Nigerian was often coming on from the bench, he quickly became a known goalscorer. In 26 games, the Nigeria international played just 799 minutes, but where it gets crazy is the goal per minute ratio of the 19-year-old. In 799 minutes, Iheanacho scored eight Premier League goals.
Rashford burst into the scene later in February 2016 as Louis van Gaal threw the 18-year-old into action following some injuries in his squad. The forward took his chance, scoring in his debut for United, his Premier League debut and first Manchester derby.
He got an England Senior National team call-up and guess what; he scored on his debut also.
Both Manchester teams have new coaches this season and as expected, changes were made. Despite the changes, Iheanacho and Rashford have continued to flourish, hence the debate, who’s better.
It’s Marcus Rashford for me.
Iheanacho has continued to impress under Pep Guardiola especially in the absence of Sergio Aguero who missed three league games due to suspension. In his absence, Iheanacho showed why he is still in Guardiola’s team with a new and improved contract. This season, he has played 167 minutes in four Premier League games scoring two goals.
Rashford had it differently under Jose Mourinho who despite his denial is not known for his faith in young players. While Iheanacho has enjoyed playing in the number 9 position at City, Rashford was not trusted with such responsibilities. Instead, he has been deployed on the wings where he has also been impressive.
Rashford also does not have the benefit of playing in a settled squad. While Iheanacho is enjoying playing in Guardiola’s already finely put together squad, Rashford is still finding his way in United disorganised midfield and in a team where Mourinho does not even know his strongest XI yet.
While Iheanacho and Rashford are incredibly talented youngsters, the Manchester United forward tops his counterpart with his overall play. Playing from the wings, Rashford has impressed with his trickery, pace and ability to beat a defender, something I have not seen from Iheanacho.
This season alone, Rashford beats Iheanacho in successful take-ons, 1.14 to 0.54. On total duels won, Rashford also comes out on tops with 42.86% to Iheanacho’s 33.33%. With the same number of games played, Rashford also has more goals (3) compared to Iheanacho’s (2) although the English youngster has more minutes to his name.
Iheanacho for me is too limited. He's does not use his pace often, rarely dribbles and not physically imposing. I’m not a great fan of forwards who can’t dribble or beat a defender one on one with pace.
Rashford is my ideal number nine, tall, strong and blessed with immense pace.
Not taken anything away from Iheanacho, but I don’t think he is even the second best youngster in the Premier League after Rashford.
Forget the hype and watch the game, there is a guy called Alex Iwobi.
NB: All stats gotten from Squawka