Marcus Rashford is the name on everybody’s lips this morning after the 18-year-old scored two goals on his Manchester United debut against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League round of 32 last night.
The young striker was initially named amongst the substitutes but was required to start the match after Anthony Martial pulled up with an injury, about 15 minutes before kick-off in the warm-up.
Rashford didn’t contribute too much in the first half, as United went into the break 1-1 with their Danish opponents, but scored twice after the break to put the Red Devils 3-1 ahead. Ander Herrera and Memphis Depay made the scoreline emphatic with two goals in the final three minutes.
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After the match, a delighted Louis van Gaal revealed what he told the teenager at half-time.
The United boss, who alleviated the pressure on his shoulders with this important European victory, said to Rashford that he needed to run inside the correct areas of the pitch.
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“I say always to the youngsters that they have to enjoy, because it is his debut,” Van Gaal was quoted as saying by ITV Sport. “In the first half he ran too much. He ran everywhere but not where he has to run.
“I said to him at half-time ‘you have to play in the width of the goal’ and then you shall score.
“And he scored two times, so I’m very happy for him.”
Rashford breaks 51-year United record
Very few neutrals would have been aware of Rashford before last night. In fact, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the majority inside Old Trafford weren’t aware of the Manchester-born starlet.
But they know all about him now after his two-goal heroics.
At 18 years and 117 days old, Rashford - per Goal - broke George Best’s 51-year record as United’s youngest goalscorer in all European competitors.
His name was not even listed in the United squad in the match-day programme - per BBC Sport - but Van Gaal insists he wasn’t worried about starting him following Martial’s untimely injury.
"I wasn't worried about him. I'm always confident for that," the veteran Dutch coach added. "He was the best option."
Paul Scholes praises Rashford
Even BT Sport pundit Paul Scholes had a smile on his face at the end of the match.
Commenting on Rashford’s performance, the Manchester United legend was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail: “This club is all about bring young players through [and] we've seen a special debut and hopefully his career will kick on from here.
“It was worrying at the start of the game [when Martial couldn't play] because he's a top centre forward.
“But for Rashford that's what it's all about coming in and taking your chances. There were two good goals. He showed awareness and they two proper centre forward goals.”
Marcus Rashford tweets
Meanwhile, the man of the moment tweeted: “A dream debut, amazing feeling to score twice and contribute to the team. Onto the next round #mufc.”
Should Marcus Rashford start against Arsenal this weekend? Have your say by leaving a comment below.