Marcus Rashford has been named Manchester United's player of the month for February. The 18-year-old only featured in two of the club's seven fixtures that month but his scintillating performances against FC Midtjylland and Arsenal have seen him secure 56% of the supporters' vote, collected through United's official website.
Memphis Depay finished second with 31% of the vote ahead of Jesse Lingard (13%). Rashford was thrown into Louis van Gaal's starting XI 10 minutes before the pivotal second-leg Europa League clash with Midtjylland when Anthony Martial suffered an injury during his warm-up. The teenager immediately repaid his manager's faith by scoring an instinctive brace in front of the Stretford End, inspiring his side to a 5-1 victory.
He retained his place leading United's attack for the visit of Arsenal just three days later and scored twice in three minutes against Arsene Wenger's side. After the Gunners pulled a goal back, Rashford provided the assist for United's third, cutting the ball back for Ander Herrera to net from range.
According to The Sun Rashford currently earns £500-a-week on a deal that expires in the summer of 2017 but will now be handed a new contract worth £15,000-a-week – an increase of 2900%.
His rise has inevitably seen the player become the centre of attention, but Van Gaal has pleaded with the press to keep a firm distance.
"First, I think that the media have to leave him in peace," Van Gaal told a press conference. "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-old.
"Give him the time to be 18-years-old, and we shall guide him also in that way. But he is a very modest guy, so I don't think that shall be a problem. Of course, when you have so much attention from the media, it can go in another way. I believe he shall keep his feet on the ground."