Cristiano Ronaldo scored a gravity defying header last week which even had his former United coach Mike Phelan raving about his ‘forehead like a sledgehammer’.

Last night Marcus Rashford scored his first headed goal of the season for Manchester United, and the Ronaldo comparisons were brought up again… by his own manager.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the club’s official website that he is impressed with Rashford’s improved physicality, citing the header as more evidence of the hard graft he has been putting in.

Solskjaer said: “Marcus is a physical specimen. He is looking after himself and working hard in the gym. He has got that spring and has worked on it. It’s about courage and getting up there.

“I remember a boy I used to play with, who could head it quite well when he was close to the goal. We compare him to Cristiano [Ronaldo] quite often, it’s one of those where it can be another string to his bow because Cristiano had it when he was getting to that age as well.”

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Still developing

We noted Rashford’s extra pace and power in the Manchester derby, in which he covered 70 metres in a six second sprint.

He is beginning to bulk up and is no longer the lean skinny kid who burst onto the scene in 2016.

Ronaldo is an almost impossible figure to emulate, but his high levels show what is capable, and there is no harm at all as the coaching staff using him to try and inspire Rashford.

 

Solskjaer hopes Mason Greenwood can use Rashford as a yardstick for the level he wants to get to, commenting that he would like to see the youngster add headed goals to his game too.

The gaffer said: “We’re not going to see the best of Mason for a couple of years. Marcus is 22 now and he sprung onto the scene at a similar age to Mason, more or less. We’re seeing maturity in his game. Mason has to learn how to head it as well as Marcus did today, because it was a fantastic goal.”

Rashford and Martial scored one each against Newcastle with Anthony Martial netting twice.

In the Premier League alone this season Rashford has 11 goals, just one less than Romelu Lukaku managed the whole of last year.

He has 15 goals in all competitions this season while Anthony Martial has nine, and Mason Greenwood has eight already.

United need to add attacking reinforcements, but so far so good for the trio.

Newcastle couldn’t live with us at Old Trafford and they were lucky we had to take off Rashford and Martial to save them for the Burnley fixture on Saturday. A repeat performance would be very welcome.

(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)
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