Marcus Rashford can 'fight off' Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez - Rio Ferdinand
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has said Marcus Rashford can "fight off" Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to become the team's No. 1 striker.
Rashford has been used as a substitute regularly by United boss Jose Mourinho and played in wide positions at Old Trafford under the Portuguese manager instead of playing in his preferred central role.
But Ferdinand told ESPN FC he thinks the England international has all the quality necessary to stay and fight for his place at United amid rumours suggesting a move away from the club might be a better option.
"You got to fight, you got to show fight, fight for that position," said Ferdinand, speaking ahead of BT Sport's Champions League coverage. "You ain't growing up at Man United to walk out the door at the first bit of disruption. No, you got a No. 10 on your shirt for a reason, you're there you got a talent, fight for it.
"He is that kind of kid as well. He is that type of kid. I think he will be disappointed he's not playing all the time not starting. I think he'll want to start and I think he'll want to prove to people that he's good enough to start on the team and he will fight off the likes of Sanchez and Lukaku to try and win that shirt to be the No. 1 striker at that club. [Because] he has the potential."
Mourinho defended his use of Rashford and his methods for developing the 20-year-old on Friday following the two goals he scored in two games for England over the international break, and hit out at "compulsive lies" in the media who were critical of how the player was used.
Ferdinand said he thought Mourinho was doing a good job with Rashford and that it was important to realise that bringing a player along at such a young age and building his confidence is a process.
"I just think there is a balance. I think it's been blown out of proportion," Ferdinand said. "I don't think it's too far Mourinho's fault and too far Rashford's fault. I think there's a balance in the middle and think that Mourinho in developing a player you have to take responsibility of how they develop.
"Yeah he is getting the minutes, but as player I look at it if I'm Marcus Rashford: 'Have I started enough games? Do I feel if we have to go to play a big massive game am I going to start that game all the time? Does he see me as his main man to go win games?' At this moment I feel Marcus Rashford will say probably not.
"In terms of building confidence, that's not a great place to start from. And that's where I'll probably sympathise with Marcus, but then you can flip back onto Marcus and say 'hold on you need to have the character to sit there and say I'm going to fight.'
"You can bring in Lukaku, you can bring in Sanchez. I'm going to be the main man. I'm Manchester United, I'm Manchester United through and through. I know what it means to be here as a Man United player and I'm going prove to you that I am the main man."