Van Gaal salutes Rashford after booking Wembley place

Date published: Thursday 14th April 2016 8:27

Louis van Gaal was full of praise for youngster Marcus Rashford after the striker netted a wonder goal to help book Manchester United’s place in the FA Cup semi-finals.

Rashford broke the deadlock against West Ham in the 54th minute after a superb run and curling shot into the top corner.

Marouane Fellaini prodded in a second and United held on to book a Wembley date with Everton despite James Tomkins pulling a goal back with 11 minutes remaining.

Rashford has now grabbed six goals since he burst on to the scene in February, and the 18-year-old’s latest may once again silence some of the calls for his manager to be sacked following an otherwise underwhelming season at Old Trafford.

Van Gaal said after the 2-1 win: “It was a great goal. I was behind it on the bench and saw the gap in the corner and shouted ‘shoot’, but to do it is much more difficult.

“A great goal and the dribble, also. He has that quality and he can score a lot of goals.

“He has no nerves, he’s very focused on his work. I admire when you are so young and with so much attention now. He’s scoring important goals.

“He can cope with that attention and focus on the next match, and when you have criticism he can cope also.”

While Andy Carroll was flavour of the month at the weekend following his hat-trick against Arsenal, the West Ham striker did not have an impact against United.

The clamour for an England call-up for this summer’s European Championship could now shift to Rashford.

But Van Gaal would only add: “That’s not my job. I’m the manager of Manchester United.”

West Ham manager Slaven Bilic was also impressed with what he saw from the youngster as the final FA Cup tie at Upton Park ended in defeat for the hosts.

“He’s done it before in the derby against Manchester City and he scored a brilliant goal here,” said Bilic.

“He controlled the ball great and he didn’t give the defenders a chance to stop him or slow him down. The finish was excellent, It was a great goal.”

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