Gareth Southgate Says Marcus Rashford as Good as Cristiano Ronaldo at Same Age

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2018

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - JULY 03:  Gareth Southgate, Manager of England istructs Marcus Rashford of England during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Colombia and England at Spartak Stadium on July 3, 2018 in Moscow, Russia.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

England manager Gareth Southgate said he believes Marcus Rashford is as good as Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane were when they were the same age.

The Manchester United youngster impressed on international duty for the Three Lions recently, netting the team's goals in the 2-1 loss to Spain and the 1-0 win over Switzerland.

After the latter contest, Southgate was asked whether he considered Rashford as one of the most special young talents in the game, per Jason Burt of the Daily Telegraph:

"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."

As noted by Burt, Rashford has enjoyed a rapid rise, becoming United's youngest ever European goalscorer in 2016, before becoming the first teenager to score in a Manchester derby later that season.

It's added that at the same age as the United man, Ronaldo had scored 32 goals for club and country, whereas Rashford has netted 37 times already in his career.

The England Twitter account posted the latest of those, as the forward steered in a poacher's effort against the Swiss:

Rashford's career hasn't been on a steady upward curve, though. Since his breakthrough campaign and the appointment of Jose Mourinho as United boss he's found minutes tougher to come by.

Additionally, the arrival of players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic—who has since joined Los Angeles Galaxy—and Romelu Lukaku have made it difficult for Rashford to get a run in his preferred centre-forward berth, meaning he's often been shunted out wide.

With that mind, former England international Jamie Carragher said he believes Rashford may have to leave United in order to fulfil his potential:

However, James Robson of the Evening Standard believes Mourinho has given the England international adequate opportunities and backing to show what he can offer:

Frustratingly for Rashford he won't be able to carry the momentum from the international break into the game against Watford on Saturday, as he is serving a suspension for being sent off against Burnley.

While Rashford has numbers comparable to Ronaldo at this point in his career, the latter catapulted himself into one of the top players in the world in his early twenties at United. He has won the UEFA Champions League five times in total, as well as the Ballon d'Or on five occasions too.

Granted, few expect Rashford to reach those heights in his career, although it's a reminder that patience is still required for a young footballer who is still in the nascent stages of his playing days.

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