Marcus Rashford has the 'football brain' to match Wayne Rooney, says Gareth Southgate

England v Slovakia - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

England manager Gareth Southgate has compared starlet Marcus Rashford to Wayne Rooney.

Rashford got an assist and a stunning winning goal in Monday night's 2-1 victory over Slovakia at Wembley, leaving England on the brink of qualification for the 2018 World Cup.

What made his performance even more impressive was his recovery from the error which resulted in Slovakia's goal inside the opening three minutes.

The 19-year-old has made a promising opening to the season with Manchester United, scoring in their 2-0 win over Leicester City, and started the first two games ahead of Anthony Martial.

And following his match-winning display in the capital, Southgate was quick to lavish praise on the youngster, after comparisons were drawn with his former United captain, Wayne Rooney.

The England manager believes Rashford's football brain is as developed as Rooney's was at the same age, and that he has all the ability to make it to the top.

"I am sure from his point of view he would rather be compared to them than not," said Southgate.

"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."

England v Slovakia - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier

Rashford burst onto the scene with United in 2016, scoring twice in each of his first two starts for the club, against FC Midtjylland and Arsenal.

Southgate says he consulted Ryan Giggs, who at the time was working as an assistant to then-manager Louis van Gaal, over whether to throw the forward in at the deep end on the international stage.

"When Ryan Giggs was working as United's assistant manager, Marcus had just broken into the team and we were deciding which age group to put him with," he stated.

"We felt maybe putting him in the U21s straight away would put too much spotlight on him, so I think the club were grateful for that, but then Roy picked him for the seniors about two months later!

Manchester United v Leicester City - Premier League

"So that plan was out the window but you can also see why because, blimey, the impact he had at the time and then immediately with England was fantastic."

Having been moved to the wing for both club and country, Rashford's searing pace gave the Slovakian defenders all kinds of problems on Monday night, something which we are regularly seeing for Manchester United.

And having become a regular for his boyhood club, he is forming a part of a hugely exciting forward line for his country, along with Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.


With such a vast amount of talent on offer, Rashford is hopeful they can form a partnership for the present and the long-term future.

"We're all quite young players, so hopefully we can be together for years and years," he said.

"We could be speaking about much greater things in the future. For the players and obviously for the fans as well, that's what we all want.

"We're young. As long we all stay together we are working on relationships off the pitch to make us better on the pitch. There are a lot of things going on in the background that hopefully can bring the best out of all of us."

News Now - Sport News