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Marcus Rashford, go on and prove you’re more than a flash in the pan

Marcus Rashford, Louis Van Gaal, Manchester United
The 18-year-old marked his Premier League debut with two goals in three minutes as United beat Arsenal 3-2.

Anthony Martial who? It’s taken a minor hamstring niggle and two games out for the Frenchman – a bright spark in an abysmal season for Manchester United – to be replaced as Old Trafford’s flavour of the campaign. In his shoes steps Marcus Rashford, an 18-year-old Mancunian who has burst on the scene with four goals in his first two senior games.

During warm up, ahead of their crucial Europa League second league against FC Midtjylland, Martial pinged his hamstring. Manager Louis Van Gaal brought in Rashford who went on to score twice as United won 5-1, overturning a first leg deficit. It would get even better for Rashford in a few days, who would hear his name sung across Old Trafford.

After beating FC Midtjylland, Van Gaal refused to confirm whether Rashford would start against Arsenal saying, “…it might take him a while to recover after playing his first (professional) game.” Turns out, Rashford recovered well enough to start and score two goals as United earned a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Gunners. Rashford was withdrawn to thunderous applause for Adnan Januzaj on the 80-minute mark, but he would do well to remember the time when Januzaj was Old Trafford’s flavour of the month.

Januzaj and Federico Macheda in particular should serve as a warning for Rashford as he makes his transition to the United first team. What Rashford has, that the other two didn’t, is the absence of Premier League title aspirations for the club this season. Without the pressure to finish top in May and the expectations that go along with that, he can work towards a full campaign as a first XI player next season.

Rashford has now scored as many goals for United as Radamel Falcao did. He is also the third youngest to score for Manchester United in the Premier League, behind Macheda and his now adversary Danny Welbeck. Rashford is young and English which means there will be no shortage of hyperbole till the end of the season. Van Gaal has already referenced him to Patrick Kluivert, Thomas Muller and the legendary Xavi in debut stakes. For now, he looks the part.

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