Belfast Telegraph

Lingard keeping Man United's new wonderboy Rashford grounded

By Mark Ogden

Jesse Lingard has revealed that he has taken Marcus Rashford under his wing at Manchester United by offering advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of his sudden rise to stardom.

Rashford, 18, became the youngest goalscorer in a Manchester derby since a 17-year-old Sammy McIlroy in 1971 by getting the only goal of United's 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

The Manchester-born forward has scored five goals in eight games since being elevated to the first team by Louis van Gaal as a result of an injury crisis last month.

Yet despite his impressive performances, Rashford has missed out on a senior England call-up for the friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands, instead being selected to play for England Under-20s against Canada on Sunday.

At 23, Lingard has had a much more gradual rise to prominence, spending four loan spells away from Old Trafford, but has made 29 appearances since breaking into the first team in October.

Having battled his way into the picture at United, Lingard insists he can help Rashford cope with the spotlight.

"Marcus is grounded," Lingard said. "He has to keep his feet on the ground and I have told him that. But I have just told him not to over-hype things because he has done well and everybody is really happy for him.

"He doesn't go out and doesn't drink. He is not one of the lads to start going out and get a big head. He has always been a hard worker."

Lingard said Van Gaal was also "buzzing" after a "massive" victory which has considerably boosted the club's hopes of achieving a top-four finish - the only way of qualifying for next season's Champions League now open to them following their exit from the Europa League last Thursday.

Van Gaal's men are sixth in the table, level on points with fifth-placed West Ham and one behind fourth-placed City, with all three sides having eight league fixtures left.

And Lingard has stressed the importance of United keeping focused as they continue to pursue their goal.

"It is a massive win and a massive boost going into the international break," he said.

"But we have to kick on now and focus on beating Everton (in their next game on April 3).

"It is interesting now but we have to take it game by game, get our recovery, get our rest and go again."

Michael Carrick, meanwhile, believes United's derby victory has averted "disaster" but claims it will count for little if not followed up by more victories.

The midfielder said: "To get a result was great because it was a must-win and if we had lost then it would have been a disaster in terms of going into the international break and coming back after that a long way off (fourth).

"It's a massive boost but it's only a big boost and worth it if we carry it on when we get back."

Carrick, 34, is out of contract in the summer as the one-year extension he signed 12 months ago comes to an end. As yet, he is unclear what the future holds.

He said: "I am not sure. I haven't heard anything. Hopefully (I will) some time soon.

"I have been here a long time, I have had some great times here and I love the club. It's a great place to play."

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