Former England striker Stan Collymore has warned Manchester United ace Marcus Rashford that he is in danger of becoming “the modern-day Theo Walcott”.
The ex-Liverpool forward believes Rashford’s positional indecisiveness will hamper his game and ultimately develop him into a “jack of all trades” player rather than a specialist in a definitive area of the pitch.
Could Rashford become the new Walcott? Five things to know…
- Rashford has often been positioned as an inside forward on the wings or as a No. 9 for Man Utd.
- However, he is yet to really nail down a preferred role, having good days and bad days in both positions.
- In United’s last match against Southampton he played through the middle, but started out wide for England on Saturday.
- Gareth Southgate has previously explained how even he is “not certain” what Rashford’s best position is.
- As such, Collymore believes the Man Utd forward is dangerously close to being cast as the ‘new Theo Walcott’.
Rashford has been consistently deployed either out wide or through the middle for club and country without really stamping his authority on either position.
As such, Collymore believes he is lurking a tad too close to Walcott territory, with the Everton attacker experiencing a similar trajectory during his Arsenal days.
“If Rashford isn’t careful then, sooner rather than later, he is going to find himself cast as the modern-day Theo Walcott,” Collymore told The Mirror.
“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.”
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Southgate “not certain” on long-term role for Rashford
Collymore’s recent comments came after England manager Gareth Southgate admitted himself that even he is unsure which role best suits the 21-year-old.
“Although we have, for a long time, almost wanted Marcus to be that option as a [No.] 9, I’m still not certain that that is where he is happiest and where he does his best work,” Southgate said. “A lot of his development at United was as a wide raider and he isn’t as strong as Harry with his back to goal and holding play up.
“A lot of his best work is in that inside-left channel, coming in off the line, and I don’t think that’s a problem. I just think we have to be aware that’s probably his profile and to get the best out of him they are the areas of the pitch that we need to get him into regularly.
“I think he can threaten teams in behind more. When he opens his legs and he runs in behind defences that’s the last place they want to be. What happened with the penalty [for England’s second goal], that’s what you want to see. Sometimes he wants to come to the ball [when] I’d be happy with that as a defender. We are encouraging our players to use their strengths.”