Manchester United star Marcus Rashford must start for the club on a more regular basis if he is to find his best position, says former Red Devils captain Rio Ferdinand.
Rashford came off the bench to snatch an injury-time winner against Bournemouth for Jose Mourinho’s side, giving them a 2-1 victory and helping them keep pace with the top four.
But the England international spurned golden chances elsewhere in the game, failing to bury a close-range effort on the goal-line and then losing out to Nathan Ake in a one-on-one foot race.
Mourinho defended Rashford ahead of the Premier League encounter at the Vitality Stadium, stating that the pressure was too high on his shoulders but Ferdinand, who made 455 appearances for United across 12 seasons, feels that the 21-year-old needs more regular starts to improve.
“Marcus Rashford is a great talent who needs to be nurtured,” the 39-year-old told BT Sport when asked why he should Rashford should start every match. “Mourinho has given him opportunities, he’s played many, many minutes.
“But I believe he is at an age now where he will be sitting there [and] if he’s not starting, he’ll be disappointed.
“He’s gone from being that player who’s been brought into the squad, who’s happy to come off the bench and make that impact.
“He’s now at a place where in his own mind he’s thinking ‘I should be starting here’ and when he doesn’t, that’s a deflator.
“I don’t think he’s at the point in his career where he should say he’s a definite No.9 down the middle.
“But I do think in a young player’s development… you’ve seen it with top players with Wayne Rooney on the left wing at times for Man Utd, [Cristiano] Ronaldo on the wing and up front. Players move about at a young age, then find their position.”
Ferdinand also weighed in on Red Devils forward Romelu Lukaku after the Belgium forward missed the game at the Vitality Stadium due to an injury sustained in training.
The 25-year-old was dropped for the previous game against his old club Everton, as he endures a barren streak in United colours, with no goals in his last nine games.
“You look at Lukaku. Lukaku’s goalscoring record is up there, it’s fantastic, he scores goals,” he added. “But in the best teams you need more than that.
“You need to be able to bring other people into play, you need to be able to complement people in your team, things have to be set up off you.
“At the moment, in a Man Utd shirt, some things break down in Lukaku. And that affects other players in the team, like [Paul] Pogba and [Jesse] Lingard, who want to play off people.”