Phil Jones believes that Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford has what it takes to become one of the best in the world following his match-winning performance for England against Slovakia on Monday night.
The 19-year-old, who made more first team appearances than any United player last season (53), has made a scintillating start to his second full campaign as a senior player, producing a powerful display against West Ham United on the opening day of the campaign before netting a crucial opener against Leicester City.
And he has been equally potent for the national side, coming on at half-time against Malta and completely changing the game with a direct, bold display out wide during which England scored four second half goals – the last coming from an inch-perfect ball from Rashford to Harry Kane.
A place in the starting line-up against Slovakia at Wembley inevitably followed and Rashford, wearing the No.7 shirt, was England’s attacking heartbeat from minute one, taking on players at will and keeping Martin Dúbravka on his toes with a series of fizzing shots. His corner for Eric Dier handed England an important equaliser just before half time and then delivered the decisive blow on the hour mark with a fierce, angled shot that nestled in the bottom corner. It was his first England goal since his debut strike against Australia and it takes Gareth Southgate’s side to within one win from qualifying for the World Cup in Russia next year.
And Jones, who also started for England, was quick to heap praise on his teammate, insisting he would eventually emerge as a world beater for both club and country.
“He’s a great lad off the pitch and, on it, he’s a special talent,” he said. “He’s already special but he’ll be a world-beater one day, he’s that good.
“He’s so quick, sharp, technically gifted, two-footed and a nightmare for defenders. You’ve seen it this season already, he’s given defenders nightmares. He’s an academy product and players from the youth system have done great over the last few years. He’s a special player and we’re lucky to have him.”