Iheanacho Or Rashford? The Debate Has Been Settled

Daniel Blazer
Daniel Blazer
Daniel Blazer
Managing Editor

“I hope people keep comparing us because if we can keep challenging each other in the coming years it could be great for Manchester.

“If we both keep doing well, improving and scoring lots of goals for the team it could be interesting.

“I love a challenge so when people compare me and Rashford, it gives me more confidence and motivation. It also makes me work even harder.

“Rashford is a great young talent. He is big and strong and makes good decisions so I think he’s going to be a really good player for United in the coming years.

“You can learn from every player so I’ve learned from Rashford as well this season and I wish him all the best in his career.”

Kelechi Iheanacho

The quotes are all too cliche, and the comparisons all too easy between Manchester’s two biggest breakthrough talents in a long time.

Marcus Rashford was an outside bet for England’s Euro 2016 squad, whilst Man City’s Iheanacho has dislodged Wilfried Bony as the back-up to Sergio Aguero despite only making seven Premier League starts this season.

Not quite the Jamie Vardy fairy tale, but no doubt still a cut above any aspirations the duo had for their respective 2015/16 seasons.

When it comes to these two promising talents, though, which half of Manchester gets the bragging rights?

All Round Game

The nature of the game nowadays mean strikers rarely thrive on being a one-trick pony like someone like Ruud van Nistelrooy used to do.

Strikers are expected to possess several attributes from leading the line to making something out of nothing to burying free-kicks.

Both strikers have scored one header each this campaign, so neither possess that aerial prowess – it has nothing to do with height, just look at Alexis Sanchez.

Iheanacho has five goals with his left-foot but just one with his right, and Rashford has four goals on his right but none registered using his left peg. So there’s not too much variety – or difference – in styles of play.

Where Rashford does trump Iheanacho is his usefulness at set-pieces. The United youngster has registered goals from free-kicks and corners, something Man City’s 19-year-old is yet to manage.

Clinical Nature

https://twitter.com/ManCityChatUk/status/728638479781875712

Given the creative calibre of Manchester City – David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne etc – you’d fully expect Iheanacho to have a greater number of chances in front of goal. And he does.

28 shots from the Nigerian international compared to Rashford’s 16, with Iheanacho registering 15 of those strikes from inside the area compared to Rashford’s 13 – Iheanacho’s penchant for trying a few 18-yard+ screamers has its flaws and merits.

Rashford sits at an impressive 89% shot accuracy, whereas Iheanacho is sitting down at a lowly 57%.

Faith From Manager

 

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

In the Premier League this season, both strikers have played a similar number of minutes – Rashford 855, Iheanacho 799. However, the United forward has amassed those minutes in just 11 games, wheres the City man has appeared in 26 league games.

It’s, of course, easy to argue that van Gaal’s hand was forced in playing Rashford, and therefore doesn’t neccessarily have greater faith in Rashford than Pellegrini does in Iheanacho. However, the Dutchman could’ve quite easily dropped the 18-year-old in favour of Wayne Rooney or Anthony Martial on several occasions this season.

Verdict

 
Rashford has shown he can lead the line, for a team that has been more incompetent and lacking in ideas than Aston Villa at times this season.

Iheanacho has proved that he’s more than capable of offering something to this Citizens squad but, as of yet, hasn’t proven he’s Sergio Aguero’s long-term replacement – you know, for when the Argentine decides that he can no longer put up with Jesus Navas playing like a blind ostrich down the flanks.