Marcus Rashford inspired by Brazil legend Ronaldo

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He scored a hat-trick. The five-year-old was on his feet, too.

"My first ever game that I saw live, he [Ronaldo] was playing in it", Rashford said ahead of England's friendly match with Brazil at Wembley on Tuesday.

The Express report Rashford said: "He always played free".

Southgate said the faith shown in Rashford by United manager Jose Mourinho and former England boss Roy Hodgson was a sign that they considered him a big-game player.

The young Englishman has now reacted to Ronaldo's words, admitting he is flattered to have received such a compliment from one of the best strikers to ever play the game.

"He was a top player who won a lot of things, so when he's saying good things about you it really stands out". Rashford was also rubbing shoulders this summer with Ronaldinho - the man whose floated free-kick wrong-footed David Seaman and knocked England out of the 2002 World Cup. "When they're at their best it's unbelievable football to watch". However, there have been mitigating circumstances. The three-time World Player of the Year, widely regarded as one of the greatest hitmen of all time, revealed last year that he sees shades of himself in the Manchester United marksman.

It was the main reason that Rashford watched him so much during his youth.

Rashford lined up alongside Romelu Lukaku that afternoon and it bodes well for the player's prospects at worldwide level that he appears comfortable in a two-man frontline. The 20-year-old came on as a substitute in the second half of Friday's draw with Germany as Jamie Vardy and Tammy Abraham lined up at the front of the attack.

'I used to watch a lot of him growing up. "The more we do it the better we'll become at it, so it's just about familiarising ourselves with positions and responsibilities". "It's just about understanding each other's games and building those relationships, which you can do off the pitch as well".

But after United crashed out of Europe on aggregate Rashford went home dreaming of emulating his new Brazilian hero.

Ronaldo, who is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in history, scored 62 times in 98 appearances for Brazil - helping the South American nation win two World Cups in the process.