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THE TWO RONNIES; SUNDAY MIRROR 08.09.2019 60 manchester united mirror.co.uk/sportRashford is fantastic, but he must model himself on Cristiano if he wants to be a world beaterrene meulensteen exclusive.

Byline: @MULLOCKSMIRROR BY SIMON MULLOCK Chief Football Writer

FORMER Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen has urged Marcus Rashford to use Cristiano Ronaldo as his role model.

The Dutchman, who was tasked by Sir Alex Ferguson with moulding Ronaldo into the world's most lethal goalscoring machine, is convinced Rashford can learn from his idol's obsessive approach.

United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was winding down his own playing career more than a decade ago when Meulensteen set about giving Ronaldo one-to-one finishing lessons.

Solskjaer is now using the very same methods with Rashford as the Reds' coach pioneered with Ronaldo on the United training pitch.

But Meulensteen says it is Ronaldo's mindset that has made him so special - and believes Rashford must have the same mental attitude that has kept the 34-year-old Juventus striker at the pinnacle of the game.

Meulensteen said: "In many ways, Cristiano is unique because he had such huge belief.

"But I do think that Marcus Rashford has got a similar mindset to be the best player he can - and I think he should use Cristiano as his role model.

"I'm not saying Marcus can be the next Ronaldo - because I think Cristiano is a one-off talent.

"Ronaldo is one of the all-time greats who will be remembered alongside Pele, Maradona, Messi, Eusebio and Cruyff.

"But Marcus can create his own reputation as a fantastic player, if he wants it enough.

"That comes only by scoring more goals, winning more games and lifting more titles.

I think has a mindset best player. "Rashford has played most of the early games of his career as a wide attacker - like Cristiano did.

"But to score more goals, you have to get yourself into more central positions - because that gives you a better chance of putting the ball into the net.

"Ronaldo learned how to do that and it looks like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is trying to get Rashford to do the same."

Ronaldo was Rashford's hero when he was a youngster.

And Solskjaer has challenged the 21-year-old England striker to become the leader of his United pack.

Meulensteen does recognise some similarities between Rashford and the teenage winger who arrived in Manchester from Sporting Lisbon in 2003.

Meulensteen had spent five years working with United's reserve and youth team players before returning to Old Trafford in 2007 after a spell managing Brondby in Denmark.

It was then that he was asked by Sir Alex to help Ronaldo hone his extraordinary natural ability.

Rashford similar to be the he can Now the assistant manager of the Australian national team, Meulensteen recalled: "Ronaldo was sent off against Reading at the start of the 2007-2008 season and was suspended for three games.

"Sir Alex decided I would use that time to really work with Cristiano on a one-to-one basis or as part of a small group of strikers.

"Cristiano's natural instinct was to always try to score the most beautiful goal possible - and that is something I also see in Marcus Rashford. Ronaldo was always trying to find the top corner from 30 yards and win the goal of the season.

"I made him realise that he had to become a great goalscorer rather than a scorer of great goals. That meant scoring more goals - not more spectacular goals.

"Of course, we worked on his technique for finishing, but we also worked on his thinking process so he would naturally get himself into the right positions to help him score more goals."

Meulensteen added: "The most important thing for any player is to have the ambition to be the best they can.

"Ronaldo had this unbelievable desire to be the best in the world - and I don't think that attitude is something you can coach into a player.

"I remember asking him in 2007 how many goals he wanted to score after scoring 23 the previous season.

"He admitted he hadn't even thought about it, so I told him how important it was to set yourself targets, if you want to get better.

"So Cristiano told me he would aim for 30 goals - and I immediately told him that he should be aiming for 40.

"He was shocked - but he scored 42 goals that season."

more games titles. has the his like Now the I think Rashford has a similar mindset to be the best player he can rashford v ronaldo MAN UTD (Prem only) Apps Starts Minutes Goals Assists Rashford (21 yrs 310 days) 115 74 7066 29 15 Ronaldo (21 yrs 310 days) 110 79 7561 24 15 Ronaldo (total) 196 157 14542 84 34

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TASK MASTER: Meulensteen with former boss Sir Alex Ferguson

Solskjaer wants his star forward to prove he can be as prolific a goalscorer as Ronaldo RASH IS RON A CHALLENGE
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 8, 2019
Words:796
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