Gareth Southgate explains why Marcus Rashford is similar to Wayne Rooney

by Leo Nieboer

England manager Gareth Southgate has noted that Marcus Rashford‘s understanding of the game is similar to that of a young Wayne Rooney.

The 19-year-old claimed his first goal of the season for Manchester United with a powerful strike during the 2-0 win over Leicester City.

And he continued to inflict damage for the Three Lions over the international break, claiming an assist against Malta before scoring the winning goal against Slovakia on Monday night – his second goal at senior level for England.

Speaking soon after the 2-1 win over Slovakia, Southgate noted that Rashford’s maturity at such a young age was indeed reminiscent of Rooney when he burst on to the international scene.

“I am sure from his point of view he would rather be compared to them (Rooney and Owen) than not,” he said.

“He is obviously a different type of player. He is as mature as they were in terms of their understanding of the game and the way he picks concepts up.

“But, yeah, it is up to him now. He has a great platform to build from, he has a really good influence at his club in terms of Jose Mourinho to keep him grounded, and we’ll do the same here.”

Rashford was a raw, lethal weapon under Louis van Gaal. But with Mourinho he is so much more than that. He made more first team appearances than any other player last season (53) and the effects of such a prolonged period of time on the pitch are there for all to see.

There is now poise to accompany is raw speed, an awareness of what surrounds him. His execution – especially those sumptuous flicks around the corner – has improved tenfold in the last year. The rate at which he is developing is nothing short of seminal and supporters will watch on keenly to see just how far he goes this season.

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