With the United Champions League game against Leipzig on the line, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer brought the forward off the bench in the second half.
And in 16 minutes, Rashford became the first United replacement to score a hat-trick since his manager did the same in 1999.
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But it’s another former Red Devils forward that Paul Scholes has seen in the 22-year-old, as he has scored seven goals in nine appearances this season.
Van Nistelrooy has plundered 150 goals in five seasons at Old Trafford and Scholes believes his “cruelty” in front of goal reminded the Dutchman.
“He was awesome, you come to expect him,” he told BT Sport. “I love his cruelty tonight, you felt every time he crossed, he wasn’t giving the goalie a chance – he was crushing him in the net.
“It was the best thing about him. His finish has been called into question in the past, but tonight, if he stays in that attitude, you are looking at 25 goals this season for him.
“It was van Nistelrooy-esque,” Scholes said of his second goal. “You see him go by and you just know he’s crushing it in the bottom corner. It was brilliant.
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“We’re talking about Rudd van Nistelrroy and that kind of finish, when you have a chance… bang, that’s a goal.”
Rashford is the competition’s top scorer after two weeks in the game, and former United defender Rio Ferdinand joined Scholes in praising the treble hero.
“The only way I can describe tonight’s cameo is like being in a playground and the big boy comes and plays,” Ferdinand added. “He did the lot tonight, he was head and shoulders above them. He made defenders that we marveled at before the game – which we saw playing very well in the Champions League last season – look like school kids tonight.
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