Manchester United attacker set to start at West Brom after convincing Van Gaal
By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Marcus Rashford has been judged fresh enough to make his fourth start in 11 days for Manchester United at West Brom on Sunday.
Manager Louis van Gaal has received further good news ahead of the trip to the Hawthorns with Chris Smalling available to return after missing three matches with a shoulder injury.
Both players could be named in the starting X1 for the Premier League clash as United chase a fifth consecutive victory to keep their top-four hopes alive.
Rashford is in the United matchday squad for the West Brom clash along with the likes of Daley Blind, Juan Mata and Matteo Darmian.
Van Gaal is happy to give Rashford the nod to start again in the absence of a number of senior players including Wayne Rooney, which could mean Anthony Martial once again beginning the match on the flanks.
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The 18-year-old is the talk of English football following the spectacular start to his senior career, scoring twice apiece against Midtjylland and Arsenal and then helping United beat Watford on Wednesday night. Remarkably, he had previously only started two games for the club’s Under 21s side.
Van Gaal, who is keen to promote his belief in youth, has watched the youngster closely in training this week and has seen no sign that his energy levels have dropped off.
He will also be tempted to throw Smalling straight back into the starting line-up as the England defender has not been out long enough to lose match sharpness.
In his absence, United have played midfielder Michael Carrick and rookie Tim Fosu-Mensah at centre-half alongside Smalling’s regular partner Daley Blind.
Marouane Fellaini, Antonio Valencia and Phil Jones could also be named in the squad after recovering from long-term injures.
United have won their last two Premier League games to reignite their hopes of a top-four finish.