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Juan Mata praises the mentality of ‘special kid’ Marcus Rashford

Juan Mata has praised the attitude of his teammate Marcus Rashford, after the 19-year-old set up his goal against Crystal Palace.

Mata says Rashford has been ‘brilliant’ so far, this season, with the Englishman scoring five and assisting four goals already.

The Spain international midfielder rated Rashford’s chances highly of having a successful career for both Manchester United and England.

“I think he has been brilliant this season. He is performing very well, week in and week out. Even coming from the bench he is helping a lot. I really believe he is going to be a big player for club and country.”

Rashford scored his first goal of the season after coming off the bench against Leicester, before adding more against Stoke City, FC Basel, and Burton Albion in September.

The Englishman again came off the bench as he scored on his Champions League debut in Group A against the Swiss champions.

While somewhat fortunate to score against Stoke, Rashford was in the right place at the right time to divert Paul Pogba’s header into the net, showing good striker’s instinct.

Then, against Championship side Burton Albion, Rashford’s first-half display was very impressive as the forward clinically chipped Connor Ripley in the Burton goal for the opener.

Mata specifically mentioned Rashford’s excellent performance in the Third Round of the Carabao Cup against Burton, in which the 19-year-old scored twice. With Rashford’s second goal coming from outside the box.

“The qualities he has, the important player he is in some difficult games where he just takes the ball and scores two great goals, like last time in the League Cup.”

While warning of the many young talents he has seen struggle over his long career, Mata, now 29, says Rashford is different and is destined to reach the very top of the game.

“I see so many players at that age like this, and then they don’t keep consistency. But I believe Marcus can because it’s down to his mentality – and he has the right mentality for that.”

Rashford’s mentality was further spoken about by Mata, with the Spaniard seeing the 19-year-old’s good attitude as crucial to his development.

“I think he is a special kid. I think he has a lot of talents and he has got a good mentality, which is important in that age. It’s down to everything he does on the pitch.”

On the pitch this season, Rashford has registered four assists, meaning he is already close to surpassing his total of six for the entirety of last season.

On the opening weekend, Rashford set up Romelu Lukaku’s first Old Trafford goal with an incisive through ball.

Then, against Crystal Palace last weekend, Rashford first set up Mata’s opener after good work on the left flank. The Englishman tricked Joel Ward before running into the box to deliver a perfect pullback for Mata to slot home.

Rashford is constantly working on his free-kick taking ability. The 19-year-old believes he can emulate Manchester United legend Cristiano Ronaldo’s technique and he showed his prowess on Saturday as he set up Marouane Fellaini’s second goal. Rashford whipped the set piece across goal with pace and power, leaving Fellaini with the simple task of diverting the ball into the net from close range.

When asked by reporters whether the technique used for his free-kick goal against Celta Vigo was like Ronaldo’s, Rashford said;

“No, it’s actually a different technique.”

But, interestingly the 19-year-old added that he has the ability to take a free-kick just like the Portuguese superstar.

“I can do it like he [Ronaldo] does it but I haven’t done it yet.”

Thanks to his impressive current form, Marcus Rashford is in line to start this week for England as the Three Lions take on Slovenia at Wembley on Thursday night.

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