Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has revealed that seeing close friends not make the grade is the hardest part of being an academy player at a big club, admitting that he sometimes feels like is playing for all those who never got the chance to go all the way.
"It's hard. So many of your friends that you have made, you see some of them go and some stay and then some leave later on; that's the hardest thing," Rashford told Sky Sports.
"When you get there and you are playing you are not just playing for yourself. There are a lot of people who shared the same dream that you had so it's like you are playing for all of them and your family as well," the 20-year-old added.
Rashford has been a first-team player at United for just over two years after bursting onto the scene in spectacular fashion in February 2016. His academy days are still fresh in the memory and it remains a special time for him because of the family vibe the club has managed to create.
"The biggest thing I can say is it's like one big family, even though [Jesse Lingard] is four or five years older than me," the England international explained.
"When you are at Under-11s and Under-16s everyone is mingling together and you share the same canteen and whatever you do everyone does it together. That's the biggest thing that sticks with you."
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As for the bond in the current first-team, which has been accused of being a collection of individuals by critics this season, Rashford said, "That kind of thing gets stronger and stronger each year. I remember when the manager first came and we signed a few new players and that summer everyone was getting used to each other.
"If you compare then to now it's on a whole new scale. Everyone is like a family and we all fight for each other on the pitch and off the pitch we are just as happy together. It's a massive improvement."