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Marcus Rashford has never been a centre-forward, says Andy Cole

Marcus Rashford

Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole does not believe Marcus Rashford is a natural centre-forward.

Rashford is enjoying a fine season at Old Trafford, having scored 14 goals in the Premier League and five more in other competitions.

The 22-year-old has primarily been deployed on the left, with Anthony Martial fielded as the team's No.9.

United completed the loan signing of Odion Ighalo from Shanghai Shenhua in January, with the Nigerian set to provide cover for the injured Rashford.

However, Cole does not believe the Red Devils academy product has ever been an out-and-out striker.

“Marcus has never been a centre-forward,” Cole, who scored 122 goals and won five Premier League titles 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.”

Ighalo and Martial are likely to compete for the starting centre-forward spot for Monday's clash with Chelsea.

And Cole believes the Frenchman still has plenty of work to do before he develops into a top-class central striker.

“Martial sees himself as a No.9,” he added. “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.”

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