Marcus Rashford has targeted replicating the rise of Cristiano Ronaldo, with the young Manchester United and England striker believing the Real Madrid man sets the benchmark.
Rashford is expected to receive a recall to the national side when Gareth Southgate names his squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia on Sunday.
The 18-year-old has the remarkable record of having scored on his Premier League, League Cup, Europa League and senior international debuts, but before becoming a fans’ favourite at Old Trafford, he himself was in the stands learning his trade off the likes of Wayne Rooney – and Ronaldo.
Ronaldo became a constant threat for opponents when he moved centrally at Old Trafford
‘Being a constant threat, that’s what I need to develop.
‘(Wayne) Rooney and Ronaldo were unreal. In 2007/08, it was an unreal partnership; they have been huge players I have looked up to and watched how they perform to try to put into my own performance.’
Rashford has moved in front of Rooney in the pecking order after making a fine start to the season under Jose Mourinho, scoring his third Premier League goal of the campaign in last weekend’s 4-1 victory over Leicester.
The striker was one of the few positives for United in Thursday’s narrow 1-0 Europa League win over Zorya Luhansk, rattling the crossbar with a ferocious half-volley in the first-half as Rooney watched on from the stands.
RASHFORD 16/17 STATS
Total PL appearances: 4
PL goals: 3
Total chances created: 3
Shot accuracy: 50%
Yellow cards: 1
After back-to-back Premier League defeats, United can now make it four wins on the bounce in all competitions with another three points against Stoke at Old Trafford on Sunday.
The Potters have not won away to the Red Devils since April 1976, with former United manager Louis van Gaal even managing to record a 3-0 victory against them last February.
Rashford believes one of the main differences between current boss Mourinho and the previous regime involves the training sessions, adding: ‘Van Gaal’s sessions are directly related to the games, whereas Mourinho is more about making players complete players. They are different and take getting used to, but everyone is relishing it.’