Updated: Friday, 15th February 2019 @ 12:37pm

England v Brazil: MM look at the importance of Man Utd's Marcus Rashford and Man City's Gabriel Jesus

England v Brazil: MM look at the importance of Man Utd's Marcus Rashford and Man City's Gabriel Jesus

| By Dane Massey

England play host to Brazil at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday evening and it is likely the countries’ two golden boys will feature heavily.

Enter Marcus Rashford and Gabriel Jesus. Both 20-year-olds play their football in Manchester, and are integral to the way their club and international sides want to play.

Jesus recently finished fourth in the latest edition of the FIFA Golden Boy award, with Rashford coming third behind French attacking duo Ousmane Dembele in second and Kylian Mbappe in first – both of whom were high-profile summer transfers.

This wasn’t the case for Rashford and Jesus, who have been settled in Manchester for a while now and they are two of the chief-entertainers in the Premier League.

Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho demand success at the highest level: both managers have been serial winners throughout their careers across various European leagues.

They have managed the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who, for a decade have been the two best players in world football.

The future also looks bright – Rashford and Jesus are two of the leading lights of modern football’s golden young generation of players and the catalysts of Manchester’s football revolution.

When Guardiola and Mourinho took the reins at City and United, the north-west was relishing the prospect of football’s two biggest managerial names slogging it out for titles in England – just as they did in Spain between 2010-12.

Although they are incredibly successful managers, they are often labelled as ‘chequebook managers’ who buy ready-made players for the present rather than developing future stars at a young age.

Rashford and Jesus, though, give their club and national team managers the best of both worlds – the Anglo-Brazilian pair are young and raw, yet ready to take on the challenges the top level has to offer. Both have endured a rapid rise to becoming Premier League stars.

This season, Rashford has already got himself on the scoresheet seven times for United, while Jesus has netted nine times for City. Manchester’s striking sensations are their clubs’ second top scorers – behind Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku respectively.


It is not just in club football where Rashford and Jesus impress either. Both players are ready to take to football’s biggest stage in Russia next year.

With 13 caps a-piece, the early phases of their international careers have been exceptional – they represent the future of the English and Brazilian national teams.

When Rashford made his England debut in a friendly match against Australia in June 2016 (the same opponent Wayne Rooney made his international debut against in 2003), he scored inside just two minutes.

Just as Sven-Goran Eriksson had seen with Rooney in 2003, Roy Hodgson could see that Rashford was cut out to be a success in international football and an integral part of England’s future.

He has since impressed for England. Two brief cameo appearances at Euro 2016 against Wales and Iceland showcased what Rashford was all about – fast, fearless, explosive, exciting and a defender’s nightmare.

It soon became clear to current manager Gareth Southgate that he was more than just a substitute – he’s one of the first names on England’s teamsheet – and rightly so.

The same can certainly be said of Jesus for Brazil, who spearheads the Canarinho attack in a potent Bazilian offensive trident which also features the world’s most expensive player Neymar and Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho.


Jesus has become the solution in the centre-forward position for Brazil – a void they have struggled to fill since the extraordinary Ronaldo was at the peak of his powers.

When Jesus made his first start against Ecuador in Quito in September 2016, he scored two goals in a 3-0 win for Tite’s team – a result which kick-started a run of nine consecutive victories for Brazil.

Just as Rashford’s winner against Slovakia in September was the key moment in sealing England’s qualification for the 2018 World Cup, Jesus provided Brazil’s eureka moment in a different type of way.



A post shared by Gabriel Jesus (@dejesusoficial) on

For England, Rashford’s winner earned a crucial result which prevented Slovakia leapfrogging England into first place which looked likely when they took an early lead.

For Brazil, however, the decision to include Jesus from the start represented the correct one as far as Tite was concerned – it was the turning point in Brazil’s qualification campaign.

Jesus has an old head upon young shoulders, his tactical discipline is second to none, and it is this which has seen him frequently oust Aguero in Guardiola’s line-up.

This is a quality he shares with Rashford. Both players are versatile and can play on either flank or as an orthodox centre-forward.

They have also demonstrated the ability to play as a false number nine where they have a responsibility to help the midfield and make up an extra man in the middle third – a role Jesus plays frequently for both City and Brazil, and a role Rashford played in last year’s Europa League final against Ajax Amsterdam when United had just 30 percent of possession.

It really is hard to believe that both players are 20 years of age, and just over a year ago it would have been even harder to believe that both players would be playing such vital roles for their club teams and national sides.

Rashford and Jesus, though, have taken things in their stride. They have accepted the reality that they are key men for two of the world’s biggest nations who come face-to-face at Wembley on Tuesday.

While Kane and Neymar may be the centre of attention, Rashford and Jesus will equally play their part both on Tuesday night and at Russia 2018.