Louis van Gaal feels teenage striker Marcus Rashford has the temperament to stay grounded after bursting spectacularly onto the scene at Manchester United.
Anthony Martial’s hamstring injury gave Rashford an unexpected senior debut from the start in last Thursday’s Europa League match against Midtjylland, and the 18-year-old rewarded his manager’s faith with a pair of second-half goals in a 5-1 win.
Rashford repeated the trick with two goals in four minutes as United beat Premier League title contenders Arsenal 3-2 at the weekend.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday’s match against Watford at Old Trafford, Van Gaal asked for the media to show restraint on the inevitable clamour surrounding the youngster.
“He is only 18 years old,” the Dutchman said. “Give him the time to be 18 years and we shall guide him also.
“He is a very modest guy so I don’t think that shall be a problem.
“Of course, when you have so much attention of the media it can go the other way but I believe that he shall keep his feet on the ground.
“First the media have to leave him in peace. When you are in front of his house and that kind of stuff, I don’t think that is beneficial for a boy of 18 years.
“It’s too much attention and it’s not always easy to deal with that attention. It’s remarkable and I can understand that you are praising him, but still he has to show his consistency.”
After his misfortune paved the way for Rashford to take centre stage, Martial is due to return to action against Watford, alongside Matteo Darmian.
Italy full-back Darmian suffered a shoulder injury in last month’s defeat at Sunderland but is available once more, while centre-back Chris Smalling could come back after colliding with an advertising hoarding in the FA Cup win at Shrewsbury Town.
“Players are coming back in March, I think,” Van Gaal told MUTV. “We need players who are coming back because our programme is very full.
“Martial can play and also Darmian can play. Maybe Chris Smalling can play. We have to wait and see for tomorrow.”