Marcus Rashford has revealed Manchester City rival Sergio Aguero and Manchester United legends Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo are inspiring his bid to become an elite striker.
The 21-year-old has never made any secret of the fact that he considers a central attacking role to be his best.
He has not always been used down the middle, with Jose Mourinho often sticking him on the flanks or the bench during his reign at Old Trafford, while England have also used the youngster as a winger.
Rashford has, however, been thriving as a leading frontman under current United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and admits he is looking to follow in some illustrious footsteps when it comes to forging a reputation as one of the most fearsome goalscorers around.
A man who has found the target 12 times across all competitions this season told GQ when asked to name his footballing heroes: “I think for me, [Ryan] Giggsy, Nicky Butt, [Paul] Scholesy, Gary Neville – they’ve been the example to a lot of the young ones coming up, and they’ll be forever that. So they hold special value, probably, to every academy player at United.
“Then for me it was the players like [Wayne] Rooney, [Cristiano] Ronaldo. [Ruud] van Nistelrooy was very good.”
Rashford added on the strikers he looks up to at present: “I think, probably the most all-round centre-forward is Sergio Aguero. Even on an off day, he can score you three or four goals. That, for me, is one trait of a centre-forward that I would take all day long.
“When you’re not having a good game, but you’re still scoring goals. That is a skill on its own. Also Harry Kane, his positioning, his movement – very clever player. I like [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang as well.”
Rashford believes he has been given the opportunity to emulate some of the finest attacking talent in the Premier League because Solskjaer’s preferred system at United plays to his strengths.
An Old Trafford academy graduate added on his adaptation to a striking berth: “It’s definitely a good feeling. I’d say before, maybe at about 17, goals and being a striker weren’t always a thing that seemed enjoyable.
“I’d always played on the wings and in a position behind the striker, and they were three positions that you can play through that you don’t have to stick to certain jobs, you know? You can play what you see and at first, when [they] were trying to get me to buy into becoming a forward, it was difficult, because the main thing for me was that you don’t see much of the ball sometimes.
“You might get one chance at goal and you have to take that chance, and it’s a different part of your brain, to be a striker. It’s completely different to the other positions.
“Before joining the first team, I was probably learning that and developing. But I’d say, especially over the last two years, that’s been at the front of my mind, and I’ve been trying to channel the way I play into getting goals and assists, and knowing which helps the team most.
“But, it’s difficult when you’ve been playing on the right, and playing on the left. Now, how you feel going into the game, it doesn’t matter, because the main focus for me and the team is goals and assists. And the way we attack is to always to score and get an end product from an attack.”