Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has backed teammate Marcus Rashford to become a star – but warned he will need time to realise his potential. The record-breaking Swede has been impressed by Rashford since joining the Reds over the summer and thinks he has the potential to "take over everything".
Rashford, 18, has played second fiddle to Ibrahimovic at United so far this season, making all of his appearances from the bench. But Ibrahimovic thinks that if he is given the time and space to develop his talents, Rashford will become one of the best players in England.
"First of all, he's 18, he's still young. He has a lot of time," Ibrahimovic told United's in-house TV station MUTV. "I think the way you have to approach a player like that, where everyone is talking about the talent and what he's able to do and what kind of potential he has, is to remember he still has a lot of time.
"It's not like he needs to take over the world today, the club knows that, the coach knows that and the team knows that."
Rashford recently netted a hat-trick on his debut for the England Under-21s and was one of United's better performers in their 2-1 defeat in the Manchester derby. However, Ibrahimovic has not been shocked by the youngster's impact, saying he has seen Rashford do eye-catching things on the training ground on a daily basis.
"We know his quality and what he's able to do," the United striker explained. "What the world is seeing now, we already know because we see it every day. There is no need to rush to push him and put him in the heat zone and put a lot of pressure on him because that can have the opposite effect. Time by time, he will take over everything. It's about having patience."
Ibrahimovic, 34, said that as a senior player in the United squad, he is determined to play his part in helping Rashford realise his potential. "I'll help him every day, him and all the others, in any way I can. I'm happy it gives an effect but, even if I was not here, they would still do good," he said.