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'Ronaldo didn't score every game so why should Rashford?' - Man Utd forward needs time, says Neville

12:40 BST 18/04/2020
Marcus Rashford Cristiano Ronaldo
The former Red Devils defender is a big fan of the Old Trafford academy graduate and wants to see expectations curbed around him

Cristiano Ronaldo was not scoring a goal every game for Manchester United at 22 years of age and the Red Devils need to avoid expecting prolific exploits from Marcus Rashford, says Gary Neville.

Those at Old Trafford have high hopes for a home-grown talent who has remained on an upward curve since breaking into the senior fold under Louis van Gaal.

Rashford has often figured in a wide attacking role for United and England, with that considered to be the best position for him at present.

He has, however, been deployed as a central striker at times and hit a career-high 19 goals across all competitions before football shut down in 2019-20 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

That healthy return has done little to curb the questions surrounding his end product, with many demanding even more from a forward with devastating pace and clinical finishing skills.

Neville, though, is eager to avoid piling pressure on Rashford at a point in which he is still learning his trade, with some of the most fearsome goalscorers of all time having needed time to hit their stride.

The Red Devils legend said: “Marcus Rashford, to be fair, is still a young player [who’s] developing, he needs to be persisted with.

“He will be persisted with because Manchester United believe in him, and they should believe in him because he’s a great talent.

“When you’re sort of a young player... Alan Shearer didn’t score a goal a game at Southampton when he first broke in. Simple as that.

“Cristiano [Ronaldo] didn’t do it at Manchester United when he first came to Manchester. We shouldn’t be expecting the same of Marcus Rashford.”

Neville is not the first to urge caution with Rashford or talk up his potential to become a superstar of the future.

United team-mate Nemanja Matic is another big fan of the Three Lions star, with the Serbian midfielder having said: “I think in the future, in the next two or three years, he will show what he can really achieve. Because he can do much, much more in my opinion.

“But he’s still young. We can’t expect him to play 40 games at the same level because he’s still young, still learning. He’s still developing his body, his mentality.

“So he can be one of the best strikers in the world, for sure.”