Marcus Rashford might have tasted painful defeat on Sunday night, but in the eyes of a nation he is still a winner.
“When you step up to take a penalty, I think you’ve already won,” club manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer stated in the wake of European Championship final defeat, even in adversity Manchester United have been reminded just how lucky they are to have him.
Rashford epitomises everything the club stands for. He is a homegrown local lad who defied the odds to take his unlikely chance in the first-team and achieve success when so much was stacked against him – that is a strange definition of failure for the internet trolls who cowardly hide behind pseudonyms and spew toxic hatred into a world he is bringing happiness to.
What’s more remarkable is that Rashford tackled political injustice and social inequality all while playing top-flight football for club and country, despite being burdened by unresolved injury issues.
News of upcoming shoulder surgery is a hefty blow in the build-up to the new season, but his anticipated 12 week absence from the end of July will be well worth the long-term rejuvenation it brings with it.
So while it makes sense for both Sancho and Greenwood to start those early season matches there is also great logic in utilising Amad from a more prominent substitute role compared with the one he occupied at the tail-end of the last campaign.
Rashford’s setback will deprive Solskjaer of a close ally he can trust for the start of the new season, though in his place he might discover he has another two promising youngsters he can rely on.
Cavani makes sense as an attacking focal point against burly Premier League defences, though Solskjaer is also a big fan of a fluid forward line which terrorises opponents with quick interchanges and plenty of positional movement.
Having invested a staggering £110m on Sancho and Amad in a little over nine months, plus another £9m on rookie Facundo Pellistri, there is no doubt Solskjaer needs to come good on such heavy investment by giving both of them extensive playing time if possible next season.
Amad, 19, might very well need to be eased back into action following involvement with Ivory Coast in the Olympics later this month, though having only played a limited amount of football this year his international call-up is probably a help rather than a hindrance ahead of the new season.
The teenager doesn’t really need the extensive rest like many of his teammates and will be much closer to first-team standards at United having played in highly competitive national team fixtures this summer.
In his absence all eyes will be on Sancho when he is finally unleashed in a United shirt, but it could be fellow winger Amad who has the biggest point to prove.
Having invested £119m in their right wing options since deadline day of the last summer window. Now it is time to use them.