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Transfer Rater: Anthony Martial to Barcelona

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Give Marcus Rashford space, Man United boss Louis van Gaal tells media

Alison Bender takes a quick look at players who shined in their debuts before struggling later and asks whether Marcus Rashford is the real deal.

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has urged the media to leave Marcus Rashford in peace as he tries to protect the 18-year-old following his sensational start to life in the first team.

Van Gaal also told a news conference he was not planning any more comical dives like the one he produced in front of fourth official Mike Dean during the 3-2 win against Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Rashford struck twice in that win and has scored four goals in two games since being thrown into the starting lineup against Midtjylland in the Europa League on Thursday because of Anthony Martial's hamstring problem.

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The young striker is still at school, and Van Gaal said: "First I think that the media have to leave him in peace.

"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.

"Give him the time to be 18 years old, and we shall guide him also in that way. He is a very modest guy, so I don't think that will be a problem.

"Of course, when you have so much attention from the media, it can go in another way. But I believe he will keep his feet on the ground."

Van Gaal said it was not always easy for a young player "to deal with that attention" and added: "I can understand that you are praising him, but still he has to show his consistency."

The United manager's touchline theatrics came on a rare visit to the sidelines. He prefers to watch games from higher in the stand and said: "I don't think you can influence the game from that spot.

"But I am not a clown, I am Louis van Gaal, I am a human being and a manager. And the players have to think on the pitch, not the manager."

Meanwhile, Van Gaal said Wayne Rooney is "still in a brace" but Marouane Fellaini and Antonio Valencia were back in training with the first team.

Asked about the title race, he predicted that Leicester City had the biggest chance -- but added that United could have a pivotal say in the outcome.

"Tottenham and Leicester both have to play against us, so you never know," he said. 

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