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ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE

2016/2017 Season

POS TEAM W D L PTS
4 Man City 19 7 6 64
5 Man Utd 17 12 3 63
6 Everton 16 10 8 58
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Manchester CityManchester City
Manchester UnitedManchester United
7:00 PM UTC
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Louis van Gaal ranks Marcus Rashford Man United debut alongside greats

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal suggested Marcus Rashford's debut had ranked alongside the first performances of some of his biggest stars at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

Rashford, 18, scored a brace on his senior debut as United eliminated FC Midtjylland from the Europa League on Thursday and then followed up with two more goals in Sunday's 3-2 win over Arsenal.

Van Gaal, who had a strong reputation for developing youth players at his previous clubs, said the striker has now proven he has genuine quality.

"The experience of mine is youngsters always play well the first match," Van Gaal said. "The second match is different. Marcus played well in both matches so he is a special talent."

Asked where Rashford's debut ranked among the best he had seen, he replied: "I can imagine a lot of them.

"Patrick Kluivert makes the winning goal [for Ajax] in the Super Cup in the Netherlands. Xavi, fantastic against I think Valladolid [for Barcelona], and also Thomas Muller -- a fantastic debut. He was playing in the second team [for Bayern Munich]."

Van Gaal has challenged Rashford "to show it in the third, fourth, fifth match," and the England youth international said: "It was my first game in the Premier League and it was amazing, and to score two was just a bonus. I just want to carry it on into the next game."

Rashford was only given his chance against Midtjylland after Anthony Martial was ruled out in the warm-up.

"I think that benefited me as I wasn't thinking about the game too much," he said. "It's just crazy and you can't explain it when you're out there. It's a rush of blood."

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

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