Gary Neville said being left out of a depleted Manchester United attack will have "killed" Marcus Rashford after the Red Devils laboured to a 1-1 draw with Leicester City.
Despite Ralf Rangnick's side being without Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani through illness and injury, Rashford remained on the bench for the first 55 minutes as United's top-four hopes were dented by the Foxes.
Rashford has recorded just four goals and two assists during a frustrating Premier League campaign, making half of his 20 league appearances from the bench.
Indeed, all four of the 24-year-old's league goals this season have come from the bench, a league-high tally, and Rashford was left out of Gareth Southgate's latest England squad as a result of his poor form.
Acknowledging Rashford's recent slump, Neville questioned what being left out of such a depleted Red Devils team said for the striker's role at the club, during a stark assessment of United's display.
"I was struggling with it [the system] before the game, without a centre-forward," Neville told Sky Sports.
"That's killed Marcus Rashford, not playing in that team.
"I know he's been in poor form, I know he's lacked confidence, but for Cristiano Ronaldo to pull out this morning, and then for Paul Pogba to be put in to change the system, not to just put Marcus Rashford in as a straight swap, after he's trained with the players for the last 10 days.
"Overall, there are too many things at this club that are uncertain: talks about Harry Maguire, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cavani, the new manager, Ralf Rangnick – is he going to be a consultant at the end of the season, or is he not?
"They just need to get to the end of the season, but it isn't going to be easy. Everybody's watching, it's Manchester United and there's no hiding place. It was so flat today."
The interim boss, however, defended his decision to bench Rashford, who did not take a shot after entering the fray as a substitute, and said his selection of Pogba in a more advanced role was a tactical choice.
"The only one [striker] we had was Marcus," Rangnick told Sky Sports. "We knew this morning Cristiano could not play and decided to start Paul Pogba.
"After 60 minutes we made the change and had a central striker on the pitch. It's no secret that he [Rashford] was not full of confidence in the last couple of weeks.
"He was training with us, and in training he is looking well. That was the question yesterday, between Paul and Marcus, and we decided to go with Paul."
United have won just one of their last six matches in all competitions, recording three draws and two defeats during that run, having won four and drawn three of their previous seven.