Matteo Darmian believes Manchester United star Marcus Rashford is capable of challenging for the Ballon d’Or award (Picture: Getty)

Matteo Darmian insists his former Manchester United teammate Marcus Rashford has all the ability required to challange for the Ballon d’Or award.

The boyhood United fan burst onto the scene four years ago when he was pressed into action following a spate of injuries. Rasfhord rewarded his then manager, Louis van Gaal, with a flurry of goals and quickly earned international recognition.

Rashford became a victim of his own versatility under Van Gaal’s replacement, Jose Mourinho, as he struggled to nail down a defined role during the Portuguese’s turbulent reign.

Under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, the 22-year-old has assumed greater responsibility, particularly following the departures of Alexis Sancehz and Romelu Lukakua, and had been enjoying a prolific season before a serious back injury curtailed his rapid progress.

With 22 goals from 37 appearances in all competitions for club and country this term, Rashford has gone a long way to repaying Solskjaer’s faith, but Darmian, now at Parma, hasn’t been surprised by the development of his former teammate given the lasting impression he made during his first ever training session with the senior squad.

Matteo Darmian insists he always knew Marcus Rashford was destined for greatness (Picture: Getty)

Darmian told The Guardian: ‘I still remember Marcus Rashford’s first session with the senior squad like it was yesterday. I immediately thought: ‘wow, this is an incredible player’.

‘He did so many impressive things for a player of his age and the way he improved in every detail really impressed me.

‘If he continues to work the way he has done so far he can be a Ballon d’Or winner. I’m convinced of this. He impressed me the most of all the players at United and he’s very young and can still improve.

‘For me he can reach the level of Kylian Mbappé and compete for the Ballon d’Or for years to come.’

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