Rookie Rashford revels in fairytale rise


Marcus Rashford says his elevation from fringe youngster to Manchester United hero has been a "crazy" experience as the teenager aims to continue his match-winning exploits.

An injury to Anthony Martial in the warm-up prior to the Europa League match at home to Midtjylland on Thursday has proved to be the trigger for one of the highlights of United's season.

Academy player Rashford scored twice on his first-team debut, with a 5-1 win firing the Red Devils into the round of 16.

Discovered playing for the same club - Fletcher Moss Rangers - as former United striker Danny Welbeck, Rashford kept his place in the starting XI for the visit of Arsenal to Old Trafford on Sunday.

And the 18-year-old newcomer delivered the goods again, netting the opener with his first Premier League shot before finishing the game with a brace and an assist in a 3-2 win over Arsene Wenger's Gunners.

"It's just crazy," he told Sky Sports after being named the man of the match.

"You can't explain it when you're out there. 

"It was a shock playing in midweek ... but that kind of benefited me, not thinking about the game too much.

"Obviously it's been amazing. To score two is a bonus so hopefully we just carry it on and go again [in the] next game."

United fans, who saw Welbeck sold to Arsenal in September 2014 after being deemed surplus to requirements by manager Louis van Gaal, now have another local lad to cheer on in his place.

And the overnight sensation received a ringing endorsement from veteran midfielder Michael Carrick. 

He said: "He's done unbelievable. What a week for him, what a week for us. I think you can see what that meant to us."

Teenage Dutch midfielder Timothy Fosu-Mensah also made his debut off the bench in the win over Arsenal, Carrick hailing the influx of promising youngsters as a major positive in what has been an indifferent campaign for United.

"The young lads that came in have done ever so well," he said.

"It's a real breath of fresh air. For me it's bringing back memories of when you're starting your career. You get your chance and you want to take it. 

"That's a massive bonus for us, it has given us a massive boost."

United are fifth in the table ahead of the visit of Watford on Wednesday, three points behind fourth-placed Manchester City, who have a game in hand as they seek to retain the final Champions League qualification berth.