I saw him de­stroy United’

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em­u­late when he was grow­ing up and the 20-year-old has the per­fect chance to prove some of the Samba flair rubbed off on him in to­mor­row’s Wem­b­ley friendly against Brazil. Speak­ing about Rash­ford last year, Ron­aldo said: “He’s a very good young player. I see some of my­self in him for sure – he has courage and he’s fast and is very good with the ball. I think for the strik­ers they have to be hun­gry to score and I see that with him. He has an amaz­ing fu­ture.”

Asked whether he tried to model him­self on Ron­aldo, Rash­ford replied:

“I think you do that nat­u­rally. When you’re young, you watch clips of the best play­ers in the world and try to em­u­late them, so it just tends to hap­pen nat­u­rally.”

Ron­aldo was 21 when he took the 1998 World Cup by storm, scor­ing four goals and mak­ing three as­sists be­fore Brazil lost 3-0 to hosts France in the fi­nal. Rash­ford will still be 20 when Eng­land travel to Rus­sia for next sum­mer’s World Cup. “I think we are all mas­sively ex­cited about the World Cup,” said Rash­ford. “The games we have got build­ing up to it are go­ing to be im­por­tant.” Other than watch­ing Ron­aldo closely since he was a child, Rash­ford met an­other Brazil­ian le­gend, Ronald­inho, this sum­mer. “He was in a Nike com­plex where we were do­ing some train­ing and he had some com­mer­cial stuff to do,” said Rash­ford. “He’s a really nice guy and had a fan­tas­tic ca­reer. Those sorts of play­ers are rare, but Brazil had two of them – Ron­aldo and Ronald­inho. Who doesn’t en­joy watch­ing Brazil play? When they’re at their best it’s un­be­liev­able foot­ball to watch.”

Praise: Ron­aldo says Mar­cus Rash­ford is sim­i­lar to him­self as a young player

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