David De Gea tips Marcus Rashford to make history at Manchester United
Man Utd 1-0 Aston Villa
David de Gea has been taken aback by Marcus Rashford's emergence and hopes the "unbelievable" talent can create some history at Manchester United.
In less than two months the 18-year-old has gone from unknown academy player to one of the most feted young footballers in English football.
Handed a surprise debut when Anthony Martial sustained an injury warming up for the Europa League clash with FC Midtjylland, Rashford grasped that chance and followed up a brace in that tie with another double against Arsenal days later.
The teenager has shown no sign of letting up and marked his 12th senior appearance with a seventh goal on Saturday, securing a 1-0 win that relegated Aston Villa and earned praise from team-mate De Gea.
"It's unbelievable," he said. "He is really young and he's scored many goals. Hopefully, for many years, he'll be at this club and can make history for the club as well. He's a shy guy, he is a really good lad and a good team-mate. He's a really good guy."
Rashford's first-time strike settled an uninspiring clash at Old Trafford, where the gallows humour of Villa's travelling support was the main entertainment.
De Gea knows it was not the most entertaining encounter for supporters but an important victory on the back of the FA Cup quarter-final replay at West Ham.
"We didn't play really well but sometimes you have to win like this, take the three points and think of the next game," he said.
"We try to put everything on the pitch, give everything - every game we do the same.
"I think we've defended really well this season and we need to continue until the last game and hopefully we will be in the top four.
"We need to win our games and wait for the rest of the teams. We will see in the end."
Compatriot Juan Mata echoed De Gea's sentiments ahead of Wednesday's league clash with Crystal Palace and the trip to Wembley for the FA Cup semi-final against Everton.
"Maybe fans and the media take the win for granted but we never do," he said. "In the Premier League, it doesn't matter if the team is at the top or the bottom of the table, it is always difficult.
"Aston Villa played with pride and it is not easy, you have to be fully focused and we were not with five minutes to go as they created chances. It is an important day for us because we won.
"We now have Crystal Palace where hopefully we can win again, then we have the semi-final in the FA Cup which gives us two very clear aims which are to win every game in the Premier League to (maybe) get Champions League football, and then to win the FA Cup which the club hasn't won for a few years.
"We are fully focused." Meanwhile, Steve Bruce is a leading candidate to become the new manager of Aston Villa if they cannot persuade Nigel Pearson to lead the club's return to the Premier League.
Pearson is the bookies' favourite to succeed Remi Garde but as the man responsible for building the foundations of Leicester's astonishing season he may wait for other offers to come in before committing. The club has yet to establish what its budget will be for the upcoming season in the Championship.
Bruce is seen as a strong contender to repair the shambles left by Villa's relegation, although they would have to persuade him to leave Hull City, who are on course to contest the play-offs.
The one significant question mark surrounding Bruce is that he is a former Birmingham City manager. Alex McLeish's move from Birmingham to Villa was not a success on any level and Villa's relegation was openly celebrated by fans at St Andrew's.
Caretaker boss Eric Black spoke of the need to repair the 'disconnect' between fans and the club. He said: "It is a fantastic club. The infrastructure is set and I don't know how many others would have had attendances of 30-35,000 when they have hardly seen a victory all season.
"We now have to do whatever we can to take the club back."