Arsene Wenger hailed the Premier League debut of Marcus Rashford

By Alex Taylor

Former Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert believes that Manchester United starlet Marcus Rashford was carried by his teammates last season.

The out of work manager was clearly not impressed with the 18-year-old sensation even though he scored key goals on his European debut and against Manchester City and Arsenal in the Premier League.

Lambert had a three year spell at Villa in what represents one of his longest stints in his managerial career to date and was not renowned for providing young players with the chance to shine at Villa Park.

“Wayne Rooney is carrying him,” Lambert told the Monday night club on 5 Live. “Michael Carrick is carrying him – people carry you when you’re young,”

“When you’re a young player you can make as many mistakes as you want and you know the critics won’t be too harsh on you. When you become 22, 23, 24 and start to become a main player, then you can be criticised.”

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Academy graduate Rashford featured in 18 first-team games for United last season, scoring eight goals and providing two assists as his side finished 5th in the league.

He was then fast-tracked into the England squad for Euro 2016 and opened his international account shortly before the summer tournament.

Rashford was one of a number of young talents on display in 2015-16 for United including Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Anthony Martial.

The prolific young forward will be hoping for the same opportunities under Jose Mourinho that he was afforded under Loius van Gaal and to become a regular first team player for his club.

The jump from squad player to starting player will be even tougher this year though after Mourinho secured this signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan in the current transfer window.

In other Aston Villa team news, legend Paul McGrath believes striker Jordan Ayew is the only player at the club who can “hold his head up high” after relegation last season.