Rashford must grab every chance that comes his way: Neil Humphreys
Selfishness and self-confidence are required of Man United strikers
Sir Alex Ferguson used to obsess over the character of a potential signing.
He asked the same question of every scout's recommendation.
Is he a Manchester United player?
Today, the retired manager might be wondering the same of Marcus Rashford.
For Fergie, a Manchester United player was more than talented.
He was terrifying in his commitment to sustained success.
No one was getting in that player's way, not even a teammate seeking to take a penalty.
No one ever stopped Ruud van Nistelrooy. Ryan Giggs said as much this week, emphasising the striker's insatiable appetite for goals.
Van Nistelrooy took United's penalties. It wasn't up for debate. He was leading the line for his club, not conducting a mass participation exercise.
He didn't hand the ball over to another teammate like kids playing pass-the-parcel at a birthday party. It wasn't a game and van Nistelrooy wasn't playing.
He was Fergie's kind of Manchester United player. So was Roy Keane.
In 2002, Diego Forlan was desperate to break his scoring duck so the striker approached his United captain and asked to take the penalty in a Champions League second-leg qualifier against Zalagerszeg.
United were 3-0 up. The game was done. The penalty was a gift for Forlan. He even collected the ball in anticipation.
But Keane denied his request.
The skipper was leading Manchester United, not a charity initiative. The ball was passed to van Nistelrooy. He made it 4-0. In the final minutes, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer knocked in the fifth.
He should have taken notes that night and passed them to Rashford against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday morning (Singapore time).
Strikers don't play nice at the best of times, but United strikers are expected to be a different breed altogether.
There are no favours for friends, just a healthy mix of arrogance and selfishness.
Rashford isn't there yet.
Not quite. He's 21 and undoubtedly blessed with remarkable skill and speed.
He is also blessed with an overwhelming niceness. Look at his support for Paul Pogba after the Frenchman suffered abhorrent racial abuse online.
Rashford stepped up for his teammate, knowing that he risked the wrath of every racist troll hiding behind a keyboard.
But he should have also stepped up to take that penalty in the 1-1 draw against Wolves.
It's no coincidence that two distinct groups have latterly criticised Rashford - rather than Pogba - for the midfielder's missed spot-kick.
First, there were United's old boys, Fergie's disciples, all sharing the unforgiving temperament that he always coveted.
Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Michael Owen and even Owen Hargreaves questioned Rashford's reluctance to challenge Pogba over the penalty.
Giggs and Neville were particularly outspoken, insisting Rashford had to demand the ball, even from an older teammate, and assert his authority.
Remember, Rashford has an immaculate record. He scored a penalty in United's opener against Chelsea. He also knocked one in for England in the World Cup shoot-out against Colombia and hit the target against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.
Pogba delivered eight times from the spot last season, but also failed against Burnley, Everton and Southampton.
But the Frenchman displayed the swaggering confidence expected of United players in tense contests. The onus was on Rashford to do likewise, which was why he faced criticism from a second group.
Owen didn't get it. Nor did Gary Lineker and a number of distinguished names in the strikers union. Centre-forwards are expected to beg, borrow and steal every goal-scoring opportunity that comes their way.
A tap-in, a toe-poke, a deflection, a divot and, yes, duels with goalkeepers from 12 yards are the chances that gluttonous poachers depend on.
What's worse, as many pointed out, Rashford had successfully converted in the previous game.
Strikers don't like handing over penalty duties, but the thought of doing so after scoring the week before is anathema to any forward worth his salt.
Rashford did himself - and his manager - no favours when he insisted afterwards that penalties were rotated, giving the impression that Solskjaer was running kindergarten five-a-sides.
Rashford has scored all the penalties he has taken in 2019.
He has earned the right to ignore Pogba's demands in such a pivotal season. A little disrespect for his elders is arguably needed here.
Solskjaer paid his young forward the highest compliment when he sold Romelu Lukaku so Rashford can't merely occupy the role. He needs to own it.
He's got to share van Nistelrooy's unshakeable self-belief in his ability to deliver, even if he antagonises those around him.
That's a Manchester United player.
When the next penalty comes around, Rashford can't drop the ball.
Get The New Paper on your phone with the free TNP app. Download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store now