Belfast Telegraph

Rashford is worthy of hype: LVG

By Mark Ogden

Louis van Gaal insisted teenage forward Marcus Rashford can cope with his dramatic rise to stardom after watching the Manchester United youngster set the club on course for the FA Cup semi-finals with a stunning goal to help end West Ham's cup hopes.

Rashford, 18, put United ahead with a curling effort early in the second-half to take his tally to six goals in eleven games since being promoted to the first-team by Van Gaal.

The Manchester-born forward has now prompted suggestions of a dramatic call-up for England's Euro 2016 squad as a result of his form for United.

But despite the increasing spotlight he is now under, Van Gaal believes that Rashford can handle the pressure.

"He is a very focused on his work, I admire that," Van Gaal said.

Van Gaal continued: "When you are young and with so much attention, it is not easy and he is scoring so many important goals.

"When you can cope with that attention and focus, when you have criticism, it is impressive. He can cope with it and also say sometimes, 'Yes manager, you are right and I have to do this'.

"There are not a lot of players who can see their self-image in the match like he can. England? It is not my job. I am the manager of Manchester United."

Rashford's goal was the turning point, however, and Van Gaal admitted that the strike was a result of repeated coaxing on the training ground.

"It was a great goal," Van Gaal said. "I shouted 'shoot!'

"But to do that is much more difficult. I have told him that when you are 60 metres out, you have to dribble and take a shot.

"He has that ability and he can score a lot of goals."

United's victory, in the last-ever cup tie at Upton Park, confirmed a semi-final against Everton at Wembley on April 23.

And Van Gaal insisted it was a deserved win for United, who are attempting to win the Cup for the first time since 2004.

"We deserved it," Van Gaal said. "We controlled the game for 85 minutes and could have finished the game much earlier.

"They scored and made it very nervous, but David de Gea saved us with a fantastic save.

"But we have deserved it and had the bigger chances."

Meanwhile, West Ham manager Slaven Bilic admitted that his team were second best to United.

He said: "Apart from the first 15 minutes and final 20, they were the better side. We still have a big thing to play for. We are going to bounce back."

Belfast Telegraph


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