Manchester United starlet Oliver Rathbone scores stunning 40-yard half-volley

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Manchester United fans may haven been forced to endure a weekend to forget following Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Swansea City, but nearly 200 miles away from the Liberty Stadium a Red Devils youngster enjoyed an afternoon he will never forget.

Oliver Rathbone is the starlet in question, scoring a quite incredible last-minute winner for United's 18s against Derby County that will demand attention from Louis van Gaal and the senior men that matter at Old Trafford.

The 18-year-old had only been on the pitch mere minutes when he uncorked an unstoppable volley from 40 yards out, the kind of strike that Wayne Rooney, Angel di Maria or Robin van Persie would be proud to call their own.

Rathbone is definitely one to watch

There was more than a hint of Rooney about Rathbone's stunning winner, with shades of his special strike at Upton Park last season in the long-distance special.

Derby's goalkeeper will be very disappointed to be beaten from that range so late in the game, but in truth there was very little he could do about an effort which came out of nowhere.

United academy staff definitely have a prospect on their hands in Rathbone, who has grabbed the headlines already this season on more than one occasion.

The talented midfielder scored a hat-trick for the under-18s against Blackburn Rovers in October, which means that despite being a long way off first-team contention he's surely a player on Van Gaal's radar.

In Van Gaal's short time at the helm at the Theatre of Dreams he's proved that academy graduates will get a chance in the first-team if they impress, just look at the example set by Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett and James Wilson.

Rathbone is taking the right steps towards following that path, particularly if he keeps producing second touches that special on a more regular basis.

United fans, do you think Rathbone should get a promotion given how poor the first-team have been this season, or perhaps even go out on loan to gain meaningful experience? Let us know by having your say in the comment box below!

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