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Tuesday 27 September 2016

Carrick: magical Marcus is here to stay

Veteran backs Rashford to be star for Red Devils

Manchester United's Marcus Rashford Photo: Reuters
Manchester United's Marcus Rashford Photo: Reuters
Manchester United’s Michael Carrick and team-mates celebrate with Marcus Rashford after he scored the opener against West Ham in the FA Cup quarter-rinal replay at Upton Park. Photo: PA

Michael Carrick admits Manchester United are desperate for FA Cup glory this season and reckons teenage striker Marcus Rashford will be around to stay.

United reached their first semi-final in five years after seeing off West Ham in a sixth-round replay at Upton Park on Wednesday night.

The 2-1 victory was one of their strongest showings of the campaign as goals from Rashford and the impressive Marouane Fellaini were enough to book a Wembley semi-final date with Everton on April 23.

Carrick has yet to win the FA Cup during his career, with the Red Devils lifting the last of their 11 cups back in 2004. He conceded it has been a frustrating campaign for Louis van Gaal's side - who crashed out of the Champions League group stages and also lost to Middlesbrough in the Capital One Cup and rivals Liverpool in the Europa League.

Defeat at Tottenham last weekend leaves their hopes of a top-four finish in the balance and England international Carrick is therefore targeting an overdue success in the FA Cup.

"I'm desperate to go further in this competition," he said.

"We haven't done well enough in this competition over recent years and we're well aware of that. We're desperate to go all the way this time.

"It's been a season of setbacks and then good results, it's so frustrating but we keep trying to get that consistency. We have a couple of good games and then a bad one sets us back.

"This is an opportunity for us now, it's a one-off game. We'll go down there and look forward to it but getting to Wembley is not the end. It's a semi-final so we haven't achieved anything yet."

Carrick was very much the elder statesmen of a vibrant United side who ruined West Ham's goodbye to cup football at Upton Park.

Grabbed

The likes of Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial all shone - but it was 18-year-old Rashford who again grabbed the headlines.

The England Under-20 international has seized his first-team opportunity with both hands and scored a tremendous solo goal to put United in front.

That was 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 Manchester derby and a brace against Arsenal.

"It's incredible," Carrick said of Rashford's emergence.

"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."

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