Michael Carrick believes youngster Marcus Rashford is here to stay and he says the Manchester United ace could be around at the top for a long time.
While Carrick’s United time looks to be coming to close with his contract set to expire in the summer, 18-year-old Rashford is just starting out on his Old Trafford career.
The England Under-20 international has seized his first-team opportunity with both hands after he was given a start against Midtjylland after Anthony Martial suffered a hamstring injury in the warm-up in February.
Rashford scored a tremendous solo goal to put United in front at West Ham on Wednesday night – his sixth goal in 11 consecutive starts as he filled in for injured captain Wayne Rooney, who replaced Rashford in the closing stages on Wednesday.
And Carrick, 34, insists Rashford’s star will not burn brightly before dwindling away – backing the academy product to build on a promising start to his career which has seen him score the winner in a Manchesterderby and a brace against Arsenal.
“It’s incredible,” said Carrick, who is yet to hold talks over a new United deal.
“It’s so good to see young lads come in, do well and take their chance. Not in his wildest dreams could he have predicted the last two or three months that he’s had.
“He’s still got his feet on his ground though. He keeps coming in, he doesn’t change, he works hard, he listens, he’s willing to learn and I think he’s got a great chance of staying at the top for a long time.
“I don’t think it’s a flash in the pan, in and out. I think he’s here to stay and goals like that, we’ll welcome more of them.”
Meanwhile, West Ham will feel they missed out on a great chance to say goodbye to their Upton Park home with trophy success as Slaven Bilic’s side did not play to their recent standard in losing to United.
James Tomkins’ late header proved to be nothing more than consolation, although visiting goalkeeper David De Gea did make three superb second-half saves to keep United ahead.
And his counterpart Darren Randolph, again preferred to Adrian in the FA Cup, believes West Ham missed their opportunity to advance in the original tie – a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford last month.
“We tried, but it wasn’t enough,” he said.
“We could have grabbed another late equaliser, and a winner, but the keeper has made some great saves. It wasn’t to be.
“We had chances at Old Trafford, and played well up there.
“We didn’t think they’d play at the same standard as they did then, because they are a good team no matter where they are in the league. They performed tonight when they needed to.”