Rashford has been sidelined since January due to an injury, but still managed to score 19 goals in 31 appearances in all competitions for his team.
The 22-year-old had high expectations this season as he led United’s attack line after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez left.
And he was the subject of criticism earlier in the campaign, having scored only once in open play in the first 10 games (plus two from the penalty spot).
But Neville thinks that Rashford is still at the start of his journey and needs to be further encouraged for United to take full advantage of it.
He said to Goal, “Marcus Rashford, to be fair, is still a young player [who’s] in development, it must be persisted with.
“He will persist because Manchester United believes in him, and they should believe in him because he is a great talent.
“When you’re kind of a young player … Alan Shearer did not score a goal per game in Southampton when he arrived. It’s as simple as that.
“Cristiano [Ronaldo] did not do so at Manchester United when he arrived at Manchester. We shouldn’t expect the same from Marcus Rashford. ”
Shearer made 118 appearances for Southampton at the start of his career, scoring 23 times in total, before sealing a move to Blackburn at 22 – the same as Rashford now.
Rashford, on the other hand, has already made 201 appearances for United and has scored 64 goals.
Ronaldo moved to United from Sporting Lisbon at the age of 18, and has made 129 appearances in his first four seasons, scoring 35 times in the process, although most of them were as winger law.
Rashford was hailed this week with fellow graduate Mason Greenwood academy as the best strikers in the country.
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United Academy coach Colin Little told MUTV, “I honestly think you can’t watch any team and think there are two best local strikers in the country. Tammy Abraham and Harry Kane are really good attackers but we have two on our books right now.
“Without blowing our own trumpet, it’s just amazing isn’t it? Both are still young, both are children of Manchester United from an early age. That’s why, but for anything else, if it were the two people coming out of this academy, you’d be like ‘wow’.
“I mean what are attackers worth these days?” People who score goals – at this age?
“They could be on our first team for almost 20 years. “