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'Rashford wanted to be like Pirlo' - Man Utd forward now urged to be next Van Nistelrooy logo 22-06-2017

Marcus Rashford may be an exciting striking option at Manchester United, but former youth coach Paul McGuinness has revealed that he once “wanted to play like Pirlo”.

A product of the Red Devils’ academy system, the 19-year-old started out as a playmaking midfielder.

Seeing himself as a creative influence in the mould of Juventus and Milan legend Andrea Pirlo, Rashford would often look to get involved in proceedings as much as possible and dictate the play.

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United, though, saw greater potential in the youngster as a fleet-footed forward and quickly sought to nudge him in a different direction.

McGuinness told the Manchester Evening News: “We decided, myself, Warren Joyce and Colin Little, that he was a very good footballer. He could be a No.10, a winger, beat people, he used to drop off into midfield.

“There was one tournament where he wanted to play like Pirlo. But we saw his potential to be a striker.

“We worked on his body shape, different runs. He’s a really, really intelligent lad in terms of football. He picked it up very quickly."

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Having burst onto the scene at Old Trafford with a flurry of goals under Louis van Gaal, Rashford found the going a little tougher in 2016-17 under Jose Mourinho – despite seeing plenty of game time.

He is now being urged to work on becoming a more predatory frontman, with United eager to see him follow in the footsteps of an iconic figure from the not too distant past.

McGuinness added: “Marcus can score all sorts of goals, but to be a goal-scorer you need more of the Ruud van Nistelrooy type of goals.

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“If it hit the goalkeeper - there was Ruud. If it hit the bar, post, deflected - he was there.

“Marcus has got a bigger range, but he needs more of those.”

Rashford netted 11 times in 53 appearances for United across all competitions in 2016-17.

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