Marcus Rashford inspired by Brazil legend Ronaldo

"When you're young you watch clips of the best players in the world and try to emulate them, so it just tends to happen naturally".

So it no surprise that his face, normally furrowed in concentration during media interviews, breaks into a smile when some old comments from his hero are replayed to him. Ronaldo, 27 at the time, was already being described as past his best due to injuries and carrying those few extra timbers that became a feature at his career's end.

Rashford all but blushed. "All of his games".

Rashford says: "He was a top player who won a lot of things, so when he's saying good things about you it really stands out".

The World Cup victor said last year he sees hints of himself in the 20-year-old Englishman and, speaking ahead of Brazil's friendly trip to Wembley on Tuesday, Rashford named Ronaldo as his childhood inspiration. "I was only young, but he was my brother's favourite player, so I've grown up watching so much of him". I bumped into Ronaldinho in the summer.

Encouraged by his older brother Dwaine, now Rashford' s agent, Rashford studied videos of the Brazilian striker and modelled his game accordingly, but it was those goals on that crisp evening that planted seeds that have blossomed into Rashford's game: that speed of dribble, the ability to run at defenders full pelt and keep the ball away from them at all costs.

Ronaldo said in the summer that Rashford's speed, skill and bravery reminded him of his own explosive teenage years and to Rashford, there could be no higher praise. He was in a Nike complex where we were doing some training and he had some commercial stuff to do. That is what sets the most unsafe strikers apart and why Rashford has an obviously special quality of his own.

"Not so many teams do that these days and it's not a problem that defenders have to face so often which can give you something that causes an opposition a fresh challenge". Since the previous worldwide break last month, Rashford has started only four of United's seven games and on one of those occasions was deployed in an unfamiliar wide-left role, while on the other three he was tasked with what is nowadays the unusual responsibility of operating in a two-man attack.

Rashford lined up alongside Romelu Lukaku that afternoon and it bodes well for the player's prospects at worldwide level that he appears comfortable in a two-man frontline.

"Like anything new, it takes a bit of getting used to". So the more we do it the easier it will be.

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