Rashford, 19, struggled earlier this season to maintain the sensational form that saw him gatecrash England’s Euro 2016 squad just three months after bursting into Manchester United’s team last year.
But he has returned to form with a bang in recent weeks and his goal and performance in the 2-0 win over leaders Chelsea on Sunday justified Jose Mourinho’s gamble in leaving 28-goal top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench and playing the youngster as his main striker.
Along with Jesse Lingard, he gave Chelsea’s defence one of their most difficult games of the season and impressed Young, United’s skipper for the day.
“I have said it all along that when he was coming through the youth team and reserves you could see there was something special about Marcus,” said Young.
Marcus Rashford starred as Manchester United swept Chelsea aside Manchester United player ratings against Chelsea Sun, April 16, 2017
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“He plays the game with hunger – it comes natural to him,. When he does things quickly I don’t think there are many defenders who can live with him.
“He was fantastic for us – we needed the outlet. When he can get in behind he is a threat. He has a massive future in front of him, not only for Manchester United but for England as well.”
United had far more pace and mobility on Sunday and Mourinho now has to decide whether to recall Ibrahimovic or keep faith with Rashford for the Europa League quarter-final second leg against Anderlecht on Thursday.
Young said Mourinho’s tactical plan to nullify Chelsea’s strengths worked to perfection.
“I don’t think a lot of people expected that scoreline or the type of game we played,” he said, “but we did. We have belief in ourselves.
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Ashley Young believes Marcus Rashford will be a big Manchester United star
“We didn’t have much time to work on the game-plan but every man was fantastic, from start to finish. We all had our jobs to fight off the threats of Chelsea and it worked to a tee. Antonio [Valencia] and Matteo [Darmian] in particular had tough opponents against them but they kept them quiet. And the two back lads [Eric Bailly and Marcos Rojo] kept [Diego] Costa quiet.
“We knew if we could score an early goal we would give ourselves a great platform. We fully deserved the three points.”
One of the survivors from United’s last title-winning squad in 2013, Young insists he will not just be content with finishing fourth and securing a Champions League qualification place – he wants to finish as high as possible with both Manchester City and Liverpool in his sights.
“There have been high standards here since I signed for the club and we want to be pushing on,” he said. “A lot has been said about how we want to finish fourth but I am that kind of person who wants to achieve more than that. I want to finish higher than that.”