Manchester United lack a No. 9, says Teddy Sheringham
Former United striker feels both Martial & Rashford don't do enough in the box
Ahead of the season, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Anthony Martial the No. 9 jersey and the responsibility of scoring more goals as Manchester United's attacking focal point.
But ex-Red Devils striker Teddy Sheringham told The New Paper that the 23-year-old Frenchman - who has scored four goals in eight matches this season - is not cut out to lead the line for United.
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Speaking ahead of United's Europa League Group L clash with Partizan Belgrade tomorrow morning (Singapore time), Sheringham said United's forwards lack the "mentality" to play as a No. 9.
"I don't think the combination (of Martial and Marcus Rashford) offers enough, no," said the 53-year-old, who will be in town for the Battle of the Reds - a tournament involving former players from Manchester United, Liverpool and the Lions at the National Stadium on Nov 16.
"If you look at Martial, Rashford, (Jesse) Lingard and (Andreas) Pereira - they all want to play that No. 10 role without doing the nitty-gritty, getting into the six-yard box and scoring the goals.
"It's a tough place, in and around the six-yard box. You've got to be prepared to put yourself in there and get hurt by centre-halves, goalkeepers, boots, knees and whatever.
"It's a dangerous place, that's why goalscorers earn lots of money. They need another player who has that mentality to get in the danger area when needed."
Rashford, Martial and 18-year-old Mason Greenwood are the only strikers left at Old Trafford, after United allowed forwards Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez to leave during the summer.
With Martial absent for around two months with injury after the 2-1 defeat by Crystal Palace at the end of August, Rashford assumed the job of leading the line for United.
England manager Gareth Southgate and Solskjaer's predecessor Jose Mourinho have both said the 22-year-old - who has scored seven goals in 15 appearances for United this season - is not a natural No. 9.
It is a sentiment shared by pundits such as Roy Keane, Graeme Souness, Paul Merson and Alan Shearer - the English Premier League's all-time top scorer.
Sheringham, however, remains a fan, pointing to Rashford's movement and finishing for United's goal in the 1-1 draw against Liverpool last month as a sign of his striker's instinct.
"He's definitely not like a Michael Owen, he doesn't just feed off balls from the six-yard box," said Sheringham, who scored 46 goals for United during a four-year spell which included the 1999 Treble.
"But having said that, when you look at his goal against Liverpool, his movement was of the highest order. A top centre forward's movement to take the defender in one way, move to the far post at the right time, and then the finish was amazing.
"I thought he was the difference between United drawing or losing the game. He took the game to Liverpool...
"He is a very different No. 9, he can score goals from all over the pitch. He might need someone up there who can score goals and get the tap-ins."
Despite 13 points from 11 matches representing United's worst start to a season in 33 years, Sheringham was reluctant to criticise his former teammate and fellow Champions League final hero, Solskjaer.
However, he did not mince words when asked about United's executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward.
He said: "Look at some of the appointments they've made since Sir Alex Ferguson.
"When you get a manager in, you've got to back him. By all accounts, there had been talk about Mourinho wanting certain players and then people above him telling him, 'We're not sure they are the right player for Manchester United'.
"Who are they to be telling Mourinho, with the record he's got as a manager, that they are not the right players?
"They picked him as a manager, so they had to back him... They need to back Solskjaer."