VAN GAAL: RASHFORD CAN HANDLE MEDIA GLARE
Louis van Gaal believes Manchester United’s breakout star Marcus Rashford has the personality to handle his overnight fame - but he would like the media to leave his striker in peace.
Rashford scored a memorable brace on his senior debut in the must-win Europa League tie against FC Midtjylland at Old Trafford. Incredibly, the 18-year-old bagged another clinical double against Arsenal on Sunday after retaining his starting place in the absence of the injured Anthony Martial.
The Academy graduate was named Man of the Match against the Gunners with 82 per cent of fans' votes on Twitter and he has since earned a nomination for the club’s Player of the Month award for February. It’s not bad, considering he was playing with the Under-18s just a few weeks ago.
Rashford will hope to feature again on Wednesday when Watford visit Old Trafford in the Barclays Premier League and van Gaal spoke positively about him during his pre-match press conference at the Aon Training Complex, though he admitted he would prefer the press not to go overboard.
“First, I think that the media have to leave him in peace,” van Gaal explained. “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 old.
“Give him the time to be 18 years old, and we shall guide him also in that way. But he is a very modest guy, so I don’t think that shall be a problem. Of course, when you have so much attention from the media, it can go in another way. I believe he shall keep his feet on the ground.”
Van Gaal also spoke about his theatrical dive to the ground when remonstrating with the fourth official during the 3-2 win over Arsenal, reiterating his stance that should not have acted in that way out of respect for the refereeing team. While he maintains he was right to complain about the Gunners' behaviour on the pitch, the Dutchman insists he will not make a habit of entering the technical area.
“It is not a part of my philosophy, because I don’t think you can influence the game from that spot,” he told the press. “But I am not a clown; I am Louis van Gaal, I am a human being and a manager.
“The players have to think on the pitch and not the manager. Sometimes I help them with these actions but I help them more to train in the brain what I have said. I have trained them for 18 months and they are seeing the solutions on the pitch. I have experience that you cannot influence the game - the players are influencing the game by themselves.”