While Manchester United have strikers of the calibre of Radamel Falcao and Robin Van Persie, neither seem to be doing the job well as far as former United forward Andy Cole is concerned. Cole has said that manager Louis Van Gaal must play captain Wayne Rooney up top as he is far more effective in the position.

Rooney has been sacrificed in several games this season, as Van Gaal experimented with different formations. The England captain did a job for the team in midfield and Cole accepted that Rooney is more than capable of playing in midfield.

But in recent games, the striker, who is the third highest goal-scorer in Uniteda s history, has been deployed as a striker and looked much more at home in the position. The 29-year-old started as a striker for the first time in a Premier League game against Sunderland, scoring twice and with it ending an eight game run where he had failed to find the back of the net.

When asked where he felt Rooney’s best position was, Cole told Goal: “As a striker. He’s a central forward and if the manager trusts him in that position he can score 20 goals.

“He’s also playing well as midfielder with his vision, but I believe all supporters want to see Rooney playing in his natural position. His best position is striker.”

Turning attention to the national team, Cole said that there was only one striker to lead the line for Roy Hodgsona s team who take on Lithuania at the end of March.

Asked who he felt was the best English striker, Cole added: “Wayne, of course, Wayne! He’s a good striker, but he won’t play that well as a No.9.

“But he’s a good striker and he understands things. He’s not a good No.9 because he tends to explore the pitch, but he can still score goals.

“He’s having a difficult season, but in the national team with Roy Hodgson it’s different. If he’s playing as a No.9, he can be better as a No.10 along with Raheem Sterling or Daniel Sturridge.”

The England and United captain might not have scored in the cluba s last game against Newcastle on Wednesday night, but it was his relentless pressing and hard work that aided Ashley Younga s 89th minute winner.

Most experts believe that Rooney holds the key to United finishing in the top four this season and qualifying for the Champions League.