Ipswich Town striker Will Keane has admitted he felt a sense of dread come over him when his then Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford netted a brace in a win over Arsenal in 2016.
With United short on attacking options, Keane had been handed his chance to impress then-Red Devils manager Louis van Gaal when he came off the bench in an FA Cup win over Shrewsbury, only for injury to put him on the sidelines as well.
Keane’s setback, along with an injury to Anthony Martial, allowed the then-18-year-old Rashford to score twice in a 5-1 win over FC Midtjylland later that week, and when the young attacker repeated the trick in a 3-2 success over Arsenal the following weekend, it seems Keane – who was out of contract with United at the end of that season – knew his team at Old Trafford was coming to an end.
Reflecting on how he felt when he saw Rashford net his quickfire double in that victory over the Gunners, Keane told The National: “Marcus Rashford had scored another two and it was like ‘oh my, no.’
“There was no bitterness towards him but it rubbed salt in the wound a little bit because it could have been me.”
Keane would indeed leave United at the end of that season, with just three senior appearances to his name for the club, joining Hull that same summer.
An injury-hit spell with the Tigers – he made 26 appearances in two-and-a-half seasons for the club – followed, before he joined Ipswich on loan in January 2019, a move he made permanent at the end of that season, despite the Tractor Boys relegation from the Championship.
You do have to feel for Keane somewhat here.
The chance to play for a club the size of United is one that surely appeals to any footballer, and it seems fate has denied Keane the opportunity to do just that, through very little fault of his own.
Indeed, things don’t really seem to have gone his way since then either given his struggles at Hull, although it does seem as though he is starting to get things heading back in the right direction – from an individual perspective at least – at Ipswich, which ought to be some sort of relief to him after everything.