Stan Collymore has said that Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford must consider where he wants to play in the attack for both club and country, or face similar criticism to England flop Theo Walcott.
Rashford has been deployed in various positions up front – including on the wing and as a striker – by both United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate, similar to the roles played by Walcott for England.
But speaking to the Daily Mirror, Collymore insisted that in order to avoid a “negative impact” on his career, the England international needs to think hard about where he would ideally like to play his football.
“If Marcus Rashford isn’t careful then, sooner rather than later, he is going to find himself cast as the modern-day Theo Walcott,” the 48-year-old said. “Someone who isn’t seen as an out-and-out winger or straight-up No.9 but a Jack of all trades as a forward and master of none.
“That’s why now is the perfect time for him to decide whether that’s the way he wants to go. Or would he rather be a player who lives or dies as a No.9. If he’s happy to play anywhere if it means being an England regular then that’s his call.
“But if that is the case over the next five to 10 years then I worry about the negative impact such a decision could have on his club career because of the message it sends.
“Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could well be forgiven for thinking, ‘Well, if this lad doesn’t have the confidence to back himself as England’s main No.9 then why should I back him at arguably the biggest club in the world? I’ll go out and buy an off-the-peg goalscorer in that case, someone who knows exactly what they are and what they want to be’.”
Rashford, who started out wide in England’s 4-0 win over Bulgaria on Saturday, is expected to be dropped to the bench and replaced by Jadon Sancho for Tuesday’s clash with Kosovo at St. Mary’s.