Romelu Lukaku
Romelu Lukaku has scored 12 league goals for Manchester United so far this season Getty

Former Manchester United defender Gary Neville says he expects Romelu Lukaku to be sacrificed from the Red Devils starting line-up at some point in the future to accommodate January signing Alexis Sanchez in his more favoured central role.

Lukaku, 24, has netted 12 times in 26 league appearances starting in the centre-forward role for United so far this season, with Sanchez predominantly being deployed by manager Jose Mourinho on the right.

Neville suggested that Sanchez is not being played in his best position and said he may eventually be preferred to Lukaku in the central striker's role, especially during periods when the latter goes through a poor run of form.

"The one person who is under some pressure is Romelu Lukaku, in terms of his form, and also that Sanchez could go up front, because I'm not sure he's suited to the right," the former United captain told Sky Sports.

"I think Lukaku has done well this season, but I think there comes a point whereby if both he and Alexis Sanchez are not performing to their best, which they are not at the moment, you'd think Sanchez will be moved up top and Lukaku may come out of the team for a few matches.

"It's not because he's a bad player, but he could come out of the team, freshen up, see the game differently, and then come back in when others have had a go."

Neville also spoke about the first team prospects of Marcus Rashford, who has seen his game time drop significantly since Sanchez's arrival in the January transfer window.

Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp made headlines last month when he urged Rashford to leave Old Trafford for the sake of progressing his career. However, Neville countered, "I think he's had a lot of playing time this season, he's had a lot of minutes on the pitch and, up until a few games ago, had taken part in every match.

"When you're a young player coming into the team, ultimately, you're not all of a sudden going to play every game for the rest of your career. Ryan Giggs did that, but that's an exception."