Learning from Messi and Ronaldo readied Rashford for Man Utd competition

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The Red Devils forward says he took inspiration from iconic figures before battling with the likes of Anthony Martial for regular game time

Marcus Rashford is relishing a battle for places at Manchester United, with inspiration sought from the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 19-year-old says that he looked towards iconic figures of the modern era when working his way through the Old Trafford academy system, with Neymar and Wayne Rooney also held up as role models.

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He has since gone on to become a star in his own right, but the England international concedes that he never tires of watching the world’s best in action and trying to take the best attributes from their respective games.

Rashford told reporters while away with the Three Lions on World Cup qualifying duty: "You try to, especially when you're young, until you find your own identity. You try to emulate those players a lot and they're the things that make you into the player you are.

"Ronaldo, Messi, Rooney, Neymar — everyone knows good football when you see it and that's what I like to watch as well.

"Teams defend a lot more now as a unit rather than man to man. There's different ways to take people on and different things you have to watch against different teams. It's hard to take a specific aspect but you can take things like mentality or characteristics.”

Having made the breakthrough at Old Trafford, Rashford is now competing with the likes of Anthony Martial for starting berths under Jose Mourinho.

He sees that competition as a benefit to both men, with it up to them to raise their standards and prove their worth.

"Without it, you don't improve," Rashford said.

Marcus Rashford Manchester United striker

"Young players need that sort of environment around them.

"I think we're both enjoying our football at the moment, we're both having our say in the games, and it's good for us, good for the manager, good for the team."

Rashford has made 11 appearances for United this season, netting five times, but he continues to be used in a wide attacking role.

He has once again reiterated that he sees himself as a central frontman, but is happy to bide his time as Romelu Lukaku shines in that role for the Red Devils.

Rashford added: "I'm a striker but if you have to play elsewhere to wait for your time, so be it.

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"If I'm not playing there, I'm not playing there.

"But wherever I'm playing, I try to get the same results. Obviously you have to do it in a different way but it's not my decision."

Rashford scored on his last outing for England against Slovakia in September and will be hoping to add to that tally when the Three Lions take in fixtures against Slovenia and Lithuania.