Marcus Rashford is restoring pride at Old Trafford with his remarkable start to his Manchester United career, according to the 18-year-old’s experienced team-mate Juan Mata.
Rashford struck two more goals in United’s thrilling 3-2 win over Arsenal on Sunday in what was arguably the brightest moment in the most trying of recent seasons for the club.
Mata is convinced United’s young stars, led by Rashford, could have rescued the campaign after boss Louis Van Gaal had no choice but to blood them to due to a lengthening injury list.
Mata wrote on United’s official website: “With such a good team performance it’s never fair to highlight this or that player, but of course all of us are very happy for Marcus Rashford.
“He’s played just a few minutes with the first team and has already scored very important goals, showing his great potential and giving us a hint of the bright future that I’m sure he has and that I wish to him.
“Besides, the club’s tradition and its connection with the Academy is making the fans proud of the great moment that Marcus and other team-mates are living, for they can see that the work with the young players is being rewarded.”
United team-mate Morgan Schneiderlin also hailed Rashford, who is expected to get the chance to extend his stunning start to life in the top-flight when United face Watford at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
Schneiderlin said: “It is amazing for him. He reminds me a bit of Anthony (Martial), the way that he started, scoring against Liverpool and against Southampton. It’s the same for Marcus; he is a very good player.
“He didn’t train [with the first team] many times, but when he did train we could see straight away that he had this quality. On Wednesday he showed it and he showed it again (on Sunday). I hope he continues like that, because he is an exciting prospect for the football club.”
Meanwhile Gunners keeper Petr Cech insists the loss will not knock his side’s belief that they can go on to claim the Premier League title.
The Gunners’ pain was made worse by news of Tottenham’s comeback to beat Swansea, which leaves their north London rivals three points clear in second place, two more behind leaders Leicester.
Cech said: “We still have a chance, so we will go for it until the last minute.
“This was a big disappointment for us and is a step back after last week, where we managed to overcome a deficit against Leicester at home. This is a step back but we need to keep working.
“We can still make up for this. We have two important games coming up this week and if we manage to win both, the table might look better again.”