The proclamation of England’s most talented attacker had been a silent debate in the hearts of many football fans and recently sprung a lot of controversial picks in reaction to one of the country’s best defenders bold claim. Man United’s captain Harry Maguire claimed fellow Man United teammate “Marcus Rashford” is the most talented footballer he has ever had as a teammate.
A lot of fans didn’t really take it offensive at first considering United is the first big team he would be plying his trade in, but on second thoughts they realized they were dealing with a player who has had Riyad Mharez, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy amongst other renowned footballers as teammates over his professional career. Some would argue that Marcus Rashford has not done enough to be mentioned in the same breath as Harry Kane, Riyad Mharez and Jamie Vardy which by the way is largely justified considering the Man United pacey forward had not really emerged from the inconsistent bitter-sweet performances of a youngster and had never really transitioned into a more consistent performer like a world beater prior to this season.
To the surprise of many be was even picked ahead of his teammates Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba. The United’s captain’s conviction had to further endure rather funny comments like ” forget Kane, Sterling and Mharez; Jadon Sancho is even more talented than he is “. Some extremist comments even declared Tammy Abraham ahead of Rashford in terms of their natural talents and sheer skill.
Judging from the various reactions sparked it’s very obvious that a lot of football fans and neutral lovers are mistaking the term ‘best player’ and ‘most talented player’. In the course of this article, we would narrow our comparisons to the English attackers and also provide a wider range of explanation for the subject matter.
First of all, when talks of the best player in a football team are raised, all minds and eyes should be focused on the most influential, consistent and best performer in the team regardless of their abilities as footballers. Having the highest number of goals, assist or chances created doest not directly make you your teams best player but having the most man of the match awards directly puts you in a strong position of contention for being your teams best. This further buttresses my previous claim of consistency. Still have a problem with understanding? Ok, let’s have an illustration.
Chelsea’s 2016/2017 title winning team had a lot of talented and naturally gifted players but Ngolo Kante was unarguably their best player that term. We are talking about a player who was not the best goal scorer, nor the top assist provider or the most creative amongst the lot but he was the most consistent with his rather commanding physical style of play. The above explanation should give a detailed glance into the difference between talent and the ability to consistently deliver with whatever skill is at your disposal.
We have gotten past the term best player, now let’s look at the components of a supposedly talented football player. Talent is the combination of raw skills required to creatively or effectively perform any action. In football, it’s not much different. Like every other sport, there are various skills involved in the act of playing football. This may include
- having an accurate shooting ability from either close or long range,
- having an exceptional vision from point blank ranges,
- having the ability to deliver accurate and magnificently decisive passes,
- possessing exemplary ball controlling abilities or
- having a marauding dribbling ability.
However, some players are further equipped psychologically and physically like Sergio Busquets who has
- an exceptional ability to read, interpret and dictate any football match amongst other technical skills.
Other psychological skills may include
- intelligent tactical awareness,
- positional sense and exemplary
- off and on the ball movement as repeated flaunted by arguably the greatest footballer of all time Lionel Messi.
The ability to perform a wide range of these skills is directly determined by your abilities as a footballer talent wise, however, it doesn’t guarantee your consistency as a performer and that is where this article takes it’s most significant base.
Unarguably the current English squad is blessed with a wide range of talented forwards from the likes of Harry Kane to the breeds of newcomers like Jadon Sancho and other younger prospects. As a matter of fact, the reality of these players plying and learning their trade in different and rival clubs teams directly fuels various types of opinions or preferences in terms of the most talented amongst fans.
You look at Harry Kane, a devastating beast within and beyond the box, a mercurial manifestation of a clinical striker with attractive goal poaching abilities and then you immediately think he is the most talented considering he been performing at the highest of level and stages for a decent amount of years now. Then you realize that doesn’t really make him the most talented.
Instantly, thoughts of Jadon Sancho breezes your reasoning. You picture his development and transformation in Germany. You can’t help but take a glance at his assist record and his overall goal contributions record in that Dortmund side at that young age, you get immediately blown away and you think you finally have your pick.
The electric pace and direct style of play of Raheem Sterling is reiterated once again into the argument , that marauding dribbling and killer instinct within the box and it’s environs and his ability to Set up team mates as well breathes fresh air to the argument once more. In a season where he has been believed to have a dip in form since his encounter with United’s Aaron Wan bissaka whilst still managing to notch up to 25 goals should tell you loads of the ability this man possesses.
Another contender is Chelsea’s young striker Tammy Abraham , a youngster who has managed to produce the goals in a young and inexperienced Chelsea team. In addition to his tremendous hold up play, he has sheer physical strength and ability to free up space for other attackers. Taking nothing from Abraham, I personally think he’s the least talented amongst the bunch.
The arguments never ends. Jason Sancho seemed to be a contender for the crown, his close ball control, technical dribbling ability and his ability to effortlessly set up teammates was continuously cited in the heated debate amongst fans. Once again you got remembered of Harry Kane’s shot, strength, dribbling and control and then confusion over your pick reigns supreme all over again.
However, during a scrutinized analysis and skill break down one player stood apart, Marcus Rashford. The combination of skills at Marcus Rashford’s disposal is more or less scattered singularly amongst the rest. He’s the only forward unlike any other forward in the English national team set up. You immediately begin to break past that sentimental bond a teammate would have for another and slowly begin to recruit sense in the Man United’s captain’s claim.
Since Marcus Rashford’s break into the United first team in February 2016, the young lad from Manchester seemed to have revealed fresh hidden skills throughout his exceptional yet frustrating transmission from a youngster to a more consistent performer. He repeatedly exhibited his lightning pace, abilities to leave defenders on their knee’s in one on one situations, his trickery and rather technical dribbling skills, marauding and defence splitting runs and movement, penalties and set piece abilities and most notably his devastating shooting ability.
Talent wise Rashford is nothing short of being well equipped but the ability to produce consistent performances with these skills prior to this season seemed to be his Achilles heel. He finally began to show the use of these skills at a very encouraging rate before his progress was halted by a double stress lower back fracture in January.
Without taking anything from the other English attackers most of them seem to have factions of the skill set possessed by Marcus Rashford alone scattered amongst themselves. Rashford may be the most talented but Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling have been miles ahead in terms of productivity and he has a lot to do to catch up.
What’s make him more exemplary is his composure in situations of nerves and high stakes as displayed by his penalty kick against Gigi Buffon in the closing minutes of the round of 16 knock out stage of the champions league last year. Who can forget his performance in the Manchester United 2-1 victory against Manchester City? His performances against big teams and his ability to turn up In these games have been on exhibition since his domestic debut against Arsenal in February 2016, something which he has carried throughout his young career.
Below is a video to affirm his talent
In my opinion, he is England’s most talented forward but has loads of grounds to cover to even be in contention for the country’s best player.
Tell us who you think is England’s most talented attacker?