Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has developed further as a player than Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane had when they were the same age, according to England manager Gareth Southgate.
Rashford scored in both of England’s matches in September, and the 20-year-old was compared favourably to 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner Kane and five-time Ballon d’Or holder Ronaldo by his international boss.
When asked is he felt Rashford was a “special talent” after Tuesday’s win over Switzerland, southgate replied: “Yes he is. I think Harry at that age had hardly played anywhere near the matches for Spurs.
“Some of the stepovers and things Ronaldo was doing at that age, he wasn’t converting them into the number of goals, so we have got to give him time to develop.
“He has still played a lot of football, although maybe not the continuous starts and I’m really pleased for him that he leaves here full of confidence.”
Rashford’s first goals this season came in the recent internationals — a 2-1 UEFA Nations League loss to Spain and the 1-0 friendly win over Switzerland — and he has only scored once in his last 13 Premier League appearances for United.
The Manchester-born striker has been in and out of the United starting XI ever since Jose Mourinho became manager in 2016, but Southgate insists the Portuguese coach is a “huge admirer.”
“It’s not my business to interfere with club managers, they have a difficult job to do and they have big squads at the top six, huge competition for places, so Jose thinks the world of Marcus,” Southgate said. “He’s a huge admirer of him, but he’s got his job to do.”
Rashford will serve the first game of a three-match suspension this weekend following his red card against Burnley before the international break, further restricting his opportunity to build on his part in England’s run to the semifinals of the World Cup in Russia, where he made six appearances.
“He’s got huge competition for places at his club so you can understand that [frustration],” Southgate said. “For me, I was delighted because we really wanted to make him feel important over this period anyway.
“He would have been a bit disappointed about the amount of time he had at the World Cup, but it was important especially to get him in the penalty box and remembering the areas he needs to be scoring goals from, and so his confidence will be boosted I’m sure, two goals against top-quality opposition in both games.