Marcus Rashford has revealed Cristiano Ronaldo was his main source of inspiration as a youngster progressing through the ranks at Manchester United.
The 18-year-old, initially left out of the first-team by Jose Mourinho, continued his meteoric rise to stardom in the last few weeks with an injury time winner against Hull City and a hat-trick on his England Under-21 debut.
Rashford, following persistent pleas from both supporters and pundits, will make his first start of the season against Feyenoord in the Europa League on Thursday.
In an interview with ManUtd.com, Rashford, when asked about who he admired as a youngster, cited Ronaldo as his chief source of inspiration.
“When Cristiano Ronaldo came to United, he was the one who everyone looked up to,” he said.
“The thing that impressed me the most was the fact he was only young when he came into the side and he wanted to be the best player in the side.
“He worked hard every single day, you saw him in the gym every single day and the results came on the pitch. He openly wanted to be the best player in the world.”
When asked if Ronaldo’s single-mindedness impressed him, Rashford replied: “You have to have an approach like that – all the best players in the world do. It’s not arrogance or anything like that, it’s the mindset you need to achieve things.”
The similarities between Rashford and Ronaldo aged 18 are too glaring to ignore. Looking back on Ronaldo’s opening few months at Old Trafford, and then doing the same with Rashford, you realise something: that both possess the same unrefined yet explosive style, personified by raw speed on the ball, superb control, seemingly endless energy and utter fearlessness – growing with every game and entrancing even the dourest spirits.
Comparing the two in this way is not to say Rashford will match – or eclipse – the exploits of Ronaldo. What can be said, however, is that at the age of 18, the similarity between the two is decidedly uncanny.