David Moyes has warned Wayne Rooney that Robin van Persie will be Manchester United's first-choice striker this season and that he is only likely to be used as the furthest man forward if the Netherlands international is sidelined.
Since arriving at Old Trafford, new United manager Moyes has been adamant that he will not sell Rooney, who has been linked with Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain after Sir Alex Ferguson said he had asked to leave at the end of last term.
However, Red Devils chief executive Ed Woodward said the club have no plans to begin talks regarding a new contract with the England international, who has entered the final two years of his current deal.
And his chances of regular first-team football seem to depend upon whether Moyes wants him as Van Persie's partner in attack - with Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck offering other alternatives - or deployed in the No. 10 position, which is Shinji Kagawa's favoured role.
Moyes, who also managed Rooney at Everton, is aware of the forward's versatility but said Van Persie remains at the top of the striking pecking order.
"Wayne can play up on his own, he can play dropped in. Overall my thought on Wayne is, if for any reason we had an injury to Robin van Persie, we'll need him," he said during United's pre-season tour of Asia and Australia.
"I want to be able to play the two of them, I want to use Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez as well. I want to give myself as many options as possible."
Van Persie was the Premier League's top scorer last season for a second successive year and struck 30 times in his debut campaign for United. Rooney, meanwhile, often played in support of the striker, notching up 10 league assists.
Van Persie and goalkeeper David De Gea, who both missed the Thai leg of the club's pre-season tour, have now joined up with their team-mates in Australia.