Phil Neville says Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford is as good as PSG’s Kylian Mbappe and Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele – but do the stats back him up?
Rashford continued an impressive start to the season with two goals and an assist as United beat Burton Albion 4-1 in the League Cup on Wednesday.
Afterwards, Neville was effusive in his praise for the 19-year-old.
“Everybody praises Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe, but nobody talks about Rashford in this country,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“Because he’s English we just say ‘he plays on the left wing, he’s OK’. He is up there with Dembele and Mbappe, who also play on either wing. People say you have to play Rashford as a centre-forward, but you can play him anywhere because he is good enough.
“Rashford is in the same bracket as those two – £100m-£150m players – he is every bit as good as those two and can be in the future because he is improving every season.”
Great goal from Rashford. pic.twitter.com/qtxJnbKCtB
— ㅤ (@TheUtdReview) September 20, 2017
We’ve compared Rashford’s stats to Dembele and Mbappe’s to see if Neville’s claim really does add up. Note, due to Dembele and Mbappe’s relative lack of league football this term, we’ve used the trio’s league stats from last season.
Rashford’s sophomore season at Old Trafford was something of a mixed bag, with the England international scoring five times in the Premier League as well as registering one assist – a rate of a goal or assist every 283.83 minutes.
Mbappe, meanwhile, broke on to the scene in stunning fashion, scoring 15 goals and assisting a further eight in Ligue 1 at a staggering rate of one every 65.26 minutes.
After joining Borussia Dortmund – whom he has since left for Barcelona – Dembele’s record last season sits right in the middle of the duo, with six Bundesliga goals and 12 assists to his name at one every 113.44 minutes.
Assist records can sometimes be misleading. After all, a player could be creating plenty of chances only to see them put to waste by team-mates.
In this instance, however, they appear reflective of the trio’s creativity. Rashford created the fewest chances per 90 minutes of the trio at 1.1, with Mbappe recording a figure of 1.9, and Dembele averaging 2.8.
It is a similar story when it comes to dribbles, with Dembele leading the way by completing 55.6% of his attempted dribbles, in comparison to Mbappe’s 54.29% and Rashford’s 46.66%.
One area where Rashford does impress against his peers is passing accuracy, completing 78.7% of his passes in the Premier League last season – better than both Mbappe (73.3%) and Dembele (67%).
While all three players are known for their attacking threat, modern football demands forwards contribute defensively, especially when it comes to pressing and harrying defenders.
Dembele yet again impresses in terms of tackles, winning 81.25% of his attempted tackles ahead of Mbappe (62.5%) and Rashford (61.5%).
The former Dortmund prodigy also averaged the most interceptions per 90 minutes – 1.1 vs Rashford’s 0.6 and Mbappe’s 0.2,
Rashford again comes out on top in a solitary category, with his aerial duel success rate of 86.66% far bettering Mbappe and Dembele (both 20%).
These are mightily impressive.
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