Manchester United cannot realistically rely on Marcus Rashford to be their first choice striker for the season ahead, according to pundit Graeme Souness.
The Red Devils look to have taken a big risk this summer by selling Romelu Lukaku with seemingly no plan to replace him in the transfer market.
Lukaku left late on in the summer to join Inter Milan, and it now looks as though Rashford will have to be first choice up front in the season ahead.
And while the England international has long looked a big prospect at Old Trafford, there do seem to be legitimate question-marks over his current suitability for such a big role.
Souness certainly has his doubts, as he writes in the Times about the 21-year-old still needing time to develop out wide as his finishing remains inconsistent.
“I’m not convinced he (Rashford) is ready for it yet. Time is still on his side, of course, but I’m looking for more consistency and 20-plus goals a season from him rather than the 10 he scored in 33 League games last season,” Souness said.
“That tells me someone of his age should not have that responsibility at a club the size of United — to be the main man, get the goals and make the difference. It’s not ideal and it would not have happened under Fergie.
“Rashford would still have been a bit-part player at his age because of the quality in front of him in the squad, but in the past year he’s had to become a main man.
“I’d prefer to see him play wide for a while yet before he becomes United’s centre-forward. It’s easier to see the game from there and make your movements. Through the middle up front is the hardest place to play.
“He doesn’t have the penalty-box craft of, say, Sergio Aguero yet, but can learn that. It’s the same with Rashford’s finishing — sometimes it takes your breath away; sometimes he freezes when confronted by a goalkeeper. Again, he will become a more consistent and confident finisher given time to develop properly because he has huge potential.”
United fans will be hoping Rashford can prove his critics wrong, but it’s a big ask for such a young player, even if he has done well and gained experience in the first-team in the last few years.