Anthony Martial should lead the line, not Wayne Rooney, says Manchester United legend Ruud van Nistelrooy

'Rooney not an out and out striker'

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The Independent Online

Ruud van Nistelrooy thinks Anthony Martial should lead the line for Manchester United this season instead of Wayne Rooney.

Martial enjoyed a dream United debut last weekend when he came off the bench and scored the final goal in the 3-1 win over Liverpool.

With Rooney injured and Marouane Fellaini struggling because of illness, the 19-year-old Frenchman then started up front for United in their 2-1 defeat to PSV on Tuesday.

Rooney looks set to return from injury for Sunday's game at Southampton, but he should not lead the line according to Van Nistelrooy.

The Dutch frontman, who scored 150 goals during his five-year spell at United, thinks that role should go to Martial instead, while Rooney should play as a number 10.

"If Martial keeps doing what he did against Liverpool he could be a revelation," Van Nistelrooy said at the PSV training ground at an Under-19s fixture between the Dutch champions and United on Tuesday.

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Ruud van Nistelrooy scored 150 goals for United

"On the other side is it really realistic to expect that from him? Hopefully for United he can be the one. He looks like the out and out striker that is needed.

"Wayne Rooney is playing in that position but I don't think he is an out and out striker. Obviously he can fulfil that role and score his goals but it would be a good combination if Martial was up front and Rooney was just off him. That would be a good strike force."

Like many outside France, Van Nistelrooy knew nothing about Martial until United stumped up a huge fee that could rise to £58million to sign the teenager from Monaco.

He has been impressed by the forward's pace and eye for goal, but Van Nistelrooy still fears United may still be short up front.

"In four competitions usually the bigger teams have double competition up front but United don't and that is going to be the big question for the season," the 39-year-old said.

"I didn't know anything about Anthony but it could be one of those unexpected successes. He needs time, but he looks like he has a lot of quality."

United had struggled for goals before the win over Liverpool.

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Rooney has struggled for United this season

Van Nistelrooy thinks the chances are being created, but the players are not taking them.

He added: "I don't think I would have found it frustrating in this United side.

"There are still always chances there."

Van Gaal has fallen out with many of his compatriots during his career, but Van Nistelrooy is not one of them.

The former United and PSV forward has little time for Van Gaal's critics.

"I know what Van Gaal is looking for. I see that coming," Van Nistelrooy said.

"First Van Gaal wants to be in control defensively and from there he builds on and I think that is what you are going to see throughout the season. I think they are going to get the base and then play better and better as the season goes on.

"I am a fan of his. He has done this at four or five clubs. He always does it."

PA

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