Marcus Rashford needs to decide “what he wants to be”, says Manchester United legend Andy Cole, with the 21-year-old told 13-goal returns are not enough for a central striker.
The Old Trafford academy graduate has hit that mark in the last two seasons.
He has generally been operating from the flanks, with Jose Mourinho preferring to use him in a wide role rather than one down the middle.
Rashford has never shied away from the fact that he considers a traditional No.9 role to be his best, but he is yet to convince everyone.
Cole admits more will be required from the England international if he goes down that route, with a decision needing to be made by everyone at United on how best to use a home-grown talent.
The 1999 Treble winner told The Sun: “He doesn’t really enjoy it with his back to goal and he wants to pick it up and run at the defender.
“He is a super talent but he has to decide now what he wants to be. Does he want to be a goalscorer or does he want to play off the left or right?
“He’s 21 so I’d like to believe he knows what his strongest position is.
“But if you are going to play as a centre forward for Manchester United, you have got to be looking to get yourself 20 goals.
“His best return in a season so far is 13 and if that is your best return, and you are the main striker, you are going to have to get yourself a few more.”
Questions have been asked of United’s decision to part with Romelu Lukaku over the simmer, with a £75 million ($93m) sale to Inter leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer short on proven firepower.
Cole also believes that the Red Devils are lacking in the middle of the park, with a Roy Keane-esque leader required to drag the club through some testing times.
The former frontman added: “Roy gave everything on the pitch and was a very vocal individual.
“In the modern game, you won’t see a vocal individual getting stuck into one of his team-mates.
“But you could say that at Manchester United, we are lacking a little bit of that.
“You need someone who is prepared to grab the game by the scruff of the neck, let a few people know what time it is.
“You have always got to try and draw the best out of your team-mates. All of them need to step it up - for each other as team-mates, as well as the management.
“Ole needs time to play the way he wants to play and get it back to what Manchester United is really about.
“United have changed manager quite a few times and everyone has their own plan on how they want to play, so it will take a little bit of time.”