Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has backed Marcus Rashford to be on a level similar to Barcelona's record signing Ousmane Dembele but insists that he needs to prove himself in the Champions League to actually realise his potential. Dembele moved from Borussia Dortmund as the second most expensive player in history in a deal worth €105m (£96.8m, $125m) plus add-ons.
The 19-year-old has started the season on the front foot, scoring five goals in 11 games in all competitions and scored the winner as England beat Slovakia 2-1 at Wembley last month. He has been deployed on the wings for United with Romelu Lukaku making the central spot his own with a host of goals and a domineering performance up front as the sole striker.
United are on a six-game winning run in all competitions and are second in the league table behind Manchester City on goal difference. The Red Devils' next league assignment sees them taking on arch-rivals Liverpool at Anfield on 14 October where Rashford is likely to play a key role, with the Reds currently going through a dismal form.
"He's a great talent and he's doing well," said Ferdinand, as quoted by the Mirror. "He looks like he's maturing. He's improving, he's hungry and he's getting opportunities this season.
"He's somebody who can be a huge talent for United and England — and he's at the right place to do that. He's got the backing of the manager, the backing of the fans and the confidence of the players, and the more I see him, the more he's bringing new things to his game and adding to it.
"You've got Ousmane Dembele who's gone to Barcelona and Mbappe, who's gone to PSG. Would you say Rashford is of the same ilk as them? I think potentially he's as good as those guys, but they've done it in the Champions League, while he's yet to prove that.
"But I don't think Marcus is silly. He knows he's not the finished article and will keep working hard at his game. He has to keep proving himself, and there are so many hurdles you have to get over. These young players, we're too quick to say, 'He can be this or that'."