As Marcus Rashford struck home the free-kick against Celta Vigo that gives himself and Manchester United a very good chance of playing Champions League football next season, it is likely his — exceedingly good — pay packet was the furthest thing from his mind.
You get the feeling Rashford, 19, who earns a reported 50,000 pounds per week, is one Gareth Southgate doesn’t need to worry about.
If there happen to be prizes in international football handed out for talking sense, then count England in as pre-tournament favourites.
Southgate, or rather “Gareth” to the players, who have been instructed to call him by his first name as he believes the term “boss” is “outdated” and earns you less respect, has once again commented progressively and sensibly on an issue that very much affects modern-day football.
And very much in particular affects the hugely financially successful Premier League from which the England manager will always pick the vast majority of his squad.
Southgate has said he believes that the motivation of young players is being eroded by excessively high pay.
He told the Boarding Schools Association conference earlier this week, in comments reported by the BBC, that millionaire youngsters were getting rewarded for achieving very little and thus the incentive to actually succeed was being severely blunted.
“They are intrinsically unmotivated, they lose a bit of an edge,” said Southgate.
The average — this is average, the top-earners get far more — salary in the Premier League, figures released by the Sporting Intelligence survey last November revealed, is £46,889 (Dh222,8089) per week. I repeat, average.
However, top youngsters in the Premier League at the biggest clubs, many of whom are still teenagers and understandably have played merely a handful of times for their clubs or, indeed, not at all, can easily be raking in half of that, if not more.
There are instances of players at just 16 earning more than 10,000 pounds per week when they are nowhere near the first team, purely just promising youngsters barely out of school.
And slightly older teenagers — 18, 19, — with just minutes of first team appearances at the top clubs, being linked with moves to other sides on wages of around 35,000 pounds per week.
The case of former Chelsea wonderkid Josh McEachran is often cited when it comes to youngsters being hugely financially rewarded and then not producing what was hoped of them.
The promising midfielder made his debut for Chelsea aged just 17 in 2010 and at 18 had been given a five-year deal of around 38,000 pounds a week. The 24-year-old now plays for Brentford in the Championship on what he himself told the Daily Telegraph was “a paycut”. McEachran is at a good level of football but not the standard he himself would have dreamed of.
It will be fascinating to see how many clubs follow the example of Liverpool who decided last year to no longer pay more than a basic salary of 40,000 pounds a year (about 833 pounds a week) to their 17-year-old first season professionals. Other clubs such as Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur have reportedly enforced a similar policy.
In a week when the wellbeing of footballers has been widely discussed, Southgate’s suggestion that “we could pay players into trust funds, or we could reduce the level” seems a sensible one.
The worrying amount of reports about footballers at the other end of their careers, when the glory days are gone, falling into bankruptcy after frittering away their money, is testament to that.