Harry Redknapp fears Marcus Rashford could suffer the same decline as Adnan Januzaj if Manchester United sign a big-name striker.
Rashford has shot to fame this season, scoring eight goals in 17 appearances since seizing the opportunity handed to him by an injury crisis at Old Trafford in February.
The 18-year-old looks set to start for United in the FA Cup final on Saturday before joining up with England after being named as part of Roy Hodgson’s 26-man preliminary squad for Euro 2016.
Former Tottenham boss Redknapp, though, has warned that Rashford’s progress could be stunted by United’s apparent desire to add a star striker to their ranks during the summer.
Redknapp likened Rashford’s fortunes to those of Januzaj, who has endured a miserable couple of seasons after breaking into the first-team as an 18-year-old under David Moyes.
In his Evening Standard column, Redknapp wrote: “If United bring in another big-money striker — and it would be a massive gamble not to do so given how they have struggled for goals this season — then that will push Rashford back down to the pecking order. How many players have you seen that happen to over the years?
“Look at Adnan Januzaj. He looked like the greatest player we had seen for years when he first came in. Everyone thought he was a genius and United fans were baying for him to get a new contract to stop the risk of losing him for nothing. The club gave him a huge five-year deal, meanwhile every nation he was conceivably eligible to play for scrambled to get him. The FA were desperate to get him to play for England.
“Then, suddenly United spend nearly £60million on Angel Di Maria and Januzaj dies a death. He’s out of the team, confidence drains away and they end up shipping him out on loan to Borussia Dortmund, whose coaches call him lazy and disinterested. A change of manager, with people talking about Jose Mourinho coming in, could complicate things even more for Rashford just like Louis van Gaal replacing David Moyes did for Januzaj.
“Rashford looks to be a really promising player but the issue with rising so quickly is that it quickly becomes a long way to fall.
“Let’s hope he can prove himself all over again.”