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Introducing Marcus Rashford, Man United's latest teenage star

Marcus Rashford was Manchester United's unlikely hero on Thursday night against FC Midtjylland, scoring twice on his first-team debut in a 5-1 win on the night that secured a 6-3 win on aggregate and progression to the Europa League Round of 16.

The goals came at a crucial time, putting United 2-1 and then 3-1 up on the night and changing the momentum of the contest. What made Rashford's impact all the more remarkable was that he was thrown into Louis van Gaal's staring lineup just before kickoff when Anthony Martial was injured in the warm-up.

Before Thursday night though, Rashford was something of an unknown quantity, certainly outside Manchester.

Here are five things about the newest Old Trafford hero.

1. Pedigree

Rashford was born in Manchester in 1997 and played for the Fletcher Moss Junior club, which has produced the likes of Wes Brown, Danny Welbeck and more recently Tyler Blackett and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson. Rashford joined United and has come through their youth system, impressing at several junior levels.

2. Leadership

The UEFA Youth League was a competition in which he shone this season, scoring twice at PSV Eindhoven and also against Wolfsburg. Youth coach Nicky Butt, the former United midfielder, handed him the captaincy for that tournament.

3. Loyalty

There was an interest in Rashford from Manchester City last year but he stayed at United and continued to make progress. The striker's first goal for the club's U21s arrived when he came on as a substitute and scored in a 6-1 win against Leicester City in mid-December.

Marcus Rashford had a debut to remember for Manchester United.

4. Experience

Rashford was an unused substitute earlier this season for Premier League games against Watford and Leicester at the end of November. They were both away trips, ending in a 2-1 win at Vicarage Road and 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium.

5. Tradition

Rashford is still only 18-years-old still and joins an impressive list of teenagers to score for United, which includes Federico Macheda, Adnan Januzaj and the man Rashford replaced on the night -- Martial.

And finally, the coach's view...

In December, Man United's then-U19 coach Nicky Butt, who is now head of the club's academy, spoke to Andy Mitten about Rashford.

"He is one of those players who you like and ask yourself: 'How can he not play at the top level?'" said Butt. "In my opinion he is a top, top player. He has a lot to learn still obviously. He has to learn to get better at finishing and getting in the right areas.

"You want more goals and the coaching staff are always feeding him information. We show him videos of Ruud van Nistelrooy, for instance, and how he scored his goals in the six-yard area. Marcus tends to get a bit frustrated in there and comes out of the areas to get the ball and then tries to run through. That is a very difficult skill -- and you don't score many goals like that.

"But the added things are he has electric pace, a great work ethic and a willingness to learn."

Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @ARejSport.


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