TEENAGE striker Marcus Rashford is a “special talent”, says Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal. The 18-year-old marked his Premier League debut with two goals in three minutes as United beat Arsenal 3-2. Rashford also scored twice on his first-team debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League on Thursday.
Van Gaal said: “Youngsters often play well in the first match. The second is different. Marcus played well in both so he is a special talent.”
The former Ajax, Barcelona, Bayern Munich boss said Rashford’s debut compared favourably with those by some of football’s biggest stars, namely Patrick Kluivert, Xavi and Thomas Muller.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was also impressed by the youngster.
He said he was surprised by Rashford’s “movement and his intelligence”, adding: “He could be a very positive surprise for Manchester United.”
Having scored four goals in his first two senior games, Rashford used the word “crazy” to describe his introduction to United’s first team.
“This is my first game in the Premier League, so obviously it’s been amazing,” he told Sky Sports. “To score two has been a bonus, so hopefully we can carry it on and go again the next game.
“It was a shock playing midweek as well. But that maybe benefited me because I wasn’t thinking about the game too much. It’s just crazy.”
No, according to David Horrocks, the player development officer at his former youth club, Fletcher Moss Rangers.
“He won’t like it at all,” Horrocks told BBC Radio 5 live. “He’s a very shy boy. His family will have been having nightmares at the press parked outside his house after Thursday night. They won’t have liked it at all.
“He’s a very unassuming lad. After the match yesterday, as he was coming off, his head was down, facing the floor. He just doesn’t like the adulation.
“It’ll possibly come to him in the future, but, at the moment, it’s not his bag.”
Rashford topped the scoring charts for United’s Under-18s last year, with 13 goals in 25 starts.
Before his recent heroics, he was an unused substitute in the 2-1 win at Watford on 21 November and in the draw at Leicester in the following weekend.
He is one of a number of players who have gone on to play professionally after turning out for Fletcher Moss Rangers.
Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck and Ravel Morrison all represented the team in their junior years, while United team-mates Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Tyler Blackett are also ex-Fletcher Moss players.
Many have lined up to congratulate the teenager, including skipper Wayne Rooney.
Juan Mata said: “Marcus is on fire… but the others who came in to play in defence and midfield were also great. I think today is a day to be proud of the club and its academy.”
Midfielder Michael Carrick added: “I’ve seen some debuts but none quite like that… it is an unbelievable start for him. He has just got to keep his head down and keep going.
“There is going to be a lot of attention on him now, people are going to be looking at him because he has thrown himself straight into the spotlight.”
“We need to see him in a few more games to find out,” said former Arsenal and England striker Ian Wright, but he has been impressed by what he has seen.
“His movement off the ball was fantastic and he finished with such composure, too,” Wright told BBC Sport.
“This was a massive step up in class from his debut against FC Midtjylland on Thursday and he has still delivered the goods.”
There are lots of headlines and lots of praise for the the youngster.
The Manchester Evening News even thinks Rashford’s rise could spark the end of Rooney’s Manchester United career.
Samuel Luckhurst wrote that Rashford’s “stunning introduction to first-team football” is “potentially bad news” for Rooney.
He added that the prospect of Rashford and Anthony Martial in attack could be “irrepressible”, adding. “The captain might not see off such competition.”
The Dutchman rarely leaves his seat in the dugout during games but seemed frustrated by an alleged dive by Gunners striker Alexis Sanchez.
So he decided to deliberately fall to the floor in front of the fourth official, later apologising for being “too emotional”.
He added: “I have had a lot of criticism because I’m sitting on my bench and now I’m off my bench and I have lot of criticism because I’m doing that.
“I’ve apologised to the referee and the linesman and I hope everything is solved. I have to control my emotions. I have said that also to my players.”
Social media was quick to jump on Van Gaal’s touchline theatrics… — BBC Sport