What a remarkable rise to fame for Marcus Rashford as he heads into the Euro 2016 with England.
But let’s not pretend we would have heard of the 18-year-old from Manchester United under normal circumstances.
I have often talked in my column about how there are so many talented young players in the reserve and academy system who aren’t getting opportunities of first-team football.
The loan system works well – although changes are coming in to restrict deals to the two transfer windows – with Huddersfield Town and many other teams in the Skybet Football League taking Premier League youngsters over a period of time.
I remember Malcolm Macdonald telling me as a kid at Fulham that until you have played a minimum of 100 senior games, you have no idea of what your level could be.
Most of these youngsters – and when I say youngsters they are not, really, because they are in their early 20s – still lack first-team experience.
The rule used to be that if you weren’t knocking on the first-team door by 18 you should really be looking for another career.
Louis Van Gaal has taken the credit for Marcus Rashford, but the truth is we would never even have heard his name at any point over the next 10 years if United hadn’t had a massive injury backlog.
It was a ‘needs must’ situation and, while United will say he would have eventually worked his way through to the first team, I very much doubt it.
The fine margin for a young player can be literally one kick of the ball, or one injury to a first-team player – there are very few who are so exceptional they force their way up the ladder at an early age.
Rashford probably won’t start in the tournament but that doesn’t matter – it’s just a great experience for the teenager and I wish him well.