Man United boss makes bizarre Marcus Rashford claim before listing him alongside greats of game

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Louis van Gaal has made the bizarre claim that Marcus Rashford is not ready for the Manchester United first team despite the 18-year-old striker’s phenomenal breakthrough.

Rashford has scored seven goals in 13 senior appearances for the Red Devils – all of which have been starts – since being thrust into his debut in the Europa League in February.

The introduction of talented youngsters has been one of the highlights of a disappointing United season – Van Gaal has handed debuts to 14 academy graduates since his arrival.

And it was made further evident that United have a heap of potential in their junior ranks when Warren Joyce’s Under-21 side won the U21 Premier League title earlier this week.

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But, according to the Manchester Evening News, when asked whether Joyce and former Under-18 coach Paul McGuinness deserve credit for readying the youngsters for the first team, Van Gaal surprisingly replied: “They are not ready, I’m sorry, also Marcus Rashford is not ready.”

“He knows that, he can learn a lot, you need always guts to put youngsters in the squad and also in the line-up, but of course the academy and all the academy coaches have the credits for these players, also the scouts who have discovered these boys, they have credits, and I am a little part of it but that part is important because you need the guts to do that.”

What was not surprising was that Van Gaal was quick to praise himself for giving kids an opportunity. He reeled off a list of some of whom he has helped on their way to greatness.

And then he contradicted his previous statement by comparing Rashford to legendary Dutch striker Patrick Kluivert. Not bad for somebody who is not ready for the first team!

The Manchester Evening News quotes him as saying: “I give youngsters the chance to do that so my first club was AZ Alkmaar and I was trainer coach of the second team, and then I played with five players out of my second team when I take over the first-coach. I was player and I was assistant coach, so it was a strange situation, but then five players have to play in the selection.

“And then I go to Ajax and Patrick Kluivert, 18-years-old, made the same performances as Marcus Rashford. I can give a lot of examples, it is not new.

“At Bayern Munich it was Thomas Muller, at Barcelona, Xavi was 18-years-old and Iniesta 17-years-old, and (Thiago) Motta was also 18-years-old, who is now playing at Paris Saint-Germain. It is not strange. Age is not the big issue. Quality is the big issue.”

What codswallop. If Rashford was not ready for the first team, then why would Van Gaal squeeze captain Wayne Rooney into midfield to accommodate the teenager as his central striker?

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