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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Makes Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo Comparison

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 27, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26: Marcus Rashford of Manchester United scores his team's third goal during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on December 26, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer spoke about Marcus Rashford's physical development after he netted in the 4-1 win over Newcastle United on Thursday.

The Red Devils rallied after falling behind in the game, with Anthony Martial, Rashford and Mason Greenwood on the scoresheet at Old Trafford.

Rashford's goal gave United a 3-1 half-time lead; he leapt brilliantly to head home Aaron Wan-Bissaka's 36th-minute cross. After the game, Solskjaer commented on the forward's physicality and noted how Cristiano Ronaldo developed that side of his game to make improvements at United, per Dejan Kalinic of Goal:

"He is a physical specimen. He's looking after himself, working hard in the gym. When you've got that spring, it's just about having courage and getting up there.

"I remember a boy I used to play with that used to head it quite well when he was close to goal. And we compare them quite often. So, that's another string to his bow Marcus that Cristiano used to get when he was getting to that age as well."

Here are the highlights from the Boxing Day fixture, which saw Solskjaer's side move up to seventh in the Premier League:

While there are still big doubts about this United team, they are beginning to look hugely threatening in attack. Scouted Football highlighted that there's still potential for the team to grow in the final third too:

Scouted Football @ScoutedFtbl

Manchester United have scored four goals in two league games this season: 4-0 vs Chelsea: ⚽⚽ Marcus Rashford ⚽ Daniel James ⚽ Anthony Martial 4-1 vs Newcastle United: ⚽⚽ Anthony Martial ⚽ Mason Greenwood ⚽ Marcus Rashford Average age of scorer: 21.5 years-old. https://t.co/3imNIvA1ed

Rashford has been the standout man.

Playing primarily from the left flank, he's been able to have a huge say on games. From that position, he can float infield, get shots at goal and drive at opposition defenders. He can also drift into dangerous positions in the penalty area, as he did against Newcastle.

Per James Robson of the Evening Standard, Solskjaer is keen to see the 22-year-old become more of a threat in the air:

James Robson @jamesrobsonES

A goal each for United’s forwards. Solskjaer reckons heading is the part of the game Rashford must improve on - and that was a good start #mufc

The United No. 10 clearly has a long way to go before he can be talked about as being on the same level as Ronaldo, who has won the Ballon d'Or on five occasions and is regarded as one of the best players of his generation.

However, at this point in his career, Rashford's record compares favourably with the Portuguese's:

Sky Sports Statto @SkySportsStatto

📊 Comparison - appearances & age when scoring 60th goal for @ManUtd: 21 years, 343 days (152 apps) Wayne Rooney 22 years, 56 days (195 apps) Marcus Rashford 22 years, 279 days (205 apps) Cristiano Ronaldo https://t.co/rc1osdVvOy

Rashford has threatened to make a big step up in recent years, only for consistency issues to rear their head. However, with 11 goals in the Premier League this term, 2019-20 feels like a breakthrough campaign for the United academy graduate.

With Rashford, Martial, Greenwood and Daniel James up top, there's potential for United to have one of the most exciting attacks in the Premier League in the next few years. If Solskjaer can improve other facets of the team, then the Red Devils won't be far off challenging for a top-four spot again.