Marcus Rashford has “never been a centre-forward”, says Andy Cole, with the Manchester United star urged to focus his attention on maximising obvious potential in a wider role.
Upon making a senior breakthrough at Old Trafford, an exciting academy graduate was eager to point out that he saw his long-term future filling a central post.
Opportunities have been afforded to him down the middle, but the 22-year-old has not been as effective as he is on the flanks.
With that in mind, former United striker Cole believes Rashford should be looking to thrive in a position which is a more natural fit for his qualities.
“Marcus has never been a centre-forward,” Cole, speaking from Marriott Hotels Seat of Dreams at Old Trafford, told Goal.
“I don’t mean that in a disrespectful way, it’s just Marcus struggled when he had to receive the ball with his back to goal. That’s not his cup of tea.
“In the wide areas, you never have to play with your back to play all game.
“When he plays off the left, you can see that he blossoms and that he enjoys that position. Coming in off the left, getting shots off or playing one-twos with the centre-forward, I think he’s done well in that position.”
While Rashford is being urged to shelve any plans to become an attacking focal point, Cole concedes that fellow forward Anthony Martial could become a leading man.
He feels the France international still has much to learn, at 24 years of age, but sees him as a more logical choice for a striking berth once the basics of said role are embraced.
“Martial sees himself as a No.9,” added Cole.
“He has to work on a few things as well to improve himself – ball retention, getting in the right areas to score goals, just like Marcus is doing now in the wide areas.
“If you’re going to play as a No.9 at whatever level, you have to run in the box because that’s how you are going to score goals. Nothing ever changes. The goal never moves and if you don’t run into the box then you know that your chances of scoring goals becomes very limited.”
Martial has netted on 12 occasions for United this season, having spent several weeks stuck on the sidelines through injury, while Rashford – who finds himself in the treatment room at present – has 19 goals to his name.
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