Marcus RashfordEnglandGetty

World Cup could be breakthrough tournament for Rashford, says Ferdinand

Rio Ferdinand has tipped Marcus Rashford to shine for England during the World Cup and believes it could be a breakthrough tournament for the Manchester United attacker.

Rashford is widely regarded as one of the most exciting youngsters around in the game, but he has struggled somewhat to consistently perform at the highest level.

The 20-year-old found himself in and out of the team during England's qualification campaign, but he impressed in Thursday's 2-0 friendly win over Costa Rica.

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The attacker scored the opener and looked lively throughout as Gareth Southgate's men cruised to victory in their final warm-up game before taking off to Russia.

It remains to be seen whether Rashford will start in England's opener against Tunisia on June 18, but Ferdinand is optimistic he can make an impact in the upcoming weeks.

"It could potentially be a breakthrough tournament for Rashford," Ferdinand told Goal during the BBC media day.

"I do not see him starting the first game for England, but I can see him having an impact at some point in the tournament. And I would love that to be the case, because he is a young kid who works hard on his game, is very switched on and very concentrated on improving himself as a footballer. And I think that deserves an element of luck and opportunity."

Rashford was not an undisputed starter at United in 2017-18, but Ferdinand is adamant Old Trafford remains the perfect place for the forward at this stage of his career.

"Yes, Manchester United is still the right place for him," the former defender continued.

"I think United are a great breeding ground for young, precocious talent. And Rashford fits that bill perfectly." 

Rashford is not the only England international who occasionally endured a difficult year, with John Stones losing his starting berth at Premier League winners Manchester City at some point.

Nevertheless, Ferdinand still feels the centre-back has the potential to become one of the best in the world in his position.

“Stones has the potential to become world class," Ferdinand added. "I think he has the platform to get there at Manchester City. It would be great if he can have a fantastic World Cup to set him off on a run on that.

"He has all of the fundamental basic things on the ball to be a great. It is about balancing that out with defensive responsibility, defensive nous, and creating or having that instinct as a defender. If he can get all that jigsaw put together, you have the foundations of a top player."

The BBC will provide extensive coverage of World Cup 2018 across TV, radio and online from June 14.