Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Wayne Rooney and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have struggled to strike up an effective partnership in attack Michael Steele/Getty Images

Gary Neville says he would leave out both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney from his ideal Manchester United starting line-up.

The former Red Devils defender said in a speech to the Oxford Union that he would play teenage striker Marcus Rashford up front with support from the wide positions from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Anthony Martial.

Ibrahimovic, 35, went on a six-game goalless run in the Premier League before netting twice in United's 3-1 win over Swansea City on 6 November.

Club captain Rooney, meanwhile, has not scored in the league since the opening day of the season and has been in and out of the team due to injuries and a lack of form.

Neville said he would field Paul Pogba as the most advanced player in a three-man midfield that includes Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick.

He opted for David de Gea in goal and a back four of Antonio Valencia, Eric Bailly, Chris Smalling and Daley Blind.

'United's decline inevitable'

Neville also spoke of his former boss at United, Sir Alex Ferguson, and how the legendary Scot's retirement in 2013 sparked an inevitable decline in the Manchester club's fortunes.

"United floundering was always going to happen after Ferguson. The control over the club and the aura he has about him left a void," he said.

"Fergie was given time and the opportunity to grow and stabilise the club when he came. United [today] keep chasing immediate success.

"Fergie's press conferences always felt like more of a message to his players than to the media. You would buy into what he said," the 41-year-old added.

United have spent vast amounts of money in the transfer market since Ferguson's retirement in search of success, but Neville urged the club to remain loyal to its traditions and continue putting faith in youth.

"The fundamentals of the United style of play – developing youth, wing play, etc – should never change. It's part of our identity," he said.

"When I see Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard on the pitch, it makes me feel proud that United is true to itself and its principles."