“Van Persie’s arrival should give everyone a push,” Sir Alex told ManUtd.com. “Chicharito has done nothing wrong, while Welbeck is promising and has shown that with England. He's in the same position as Chicharito in that they’re not first-team choices at the moment.
“That doesn't mean to say it will stay that way, because competition is always healthy. Being the kind of young lads they are, they're desperate to establish themselves in our first-team. That's what competition is.
“We had it in 1999. It did a lot of good for Andy Cole and Dwight Yorke, because they knew Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wanted to play. They did get a lot of football and I was able to change them around several times.”
Mention of the halcyon days of ’99 is appropriate, given the context. Back then, Cole traditionally partnered Yorke more frequently, with Sheringham and Solskjaer applying pressure from all angles with every chance - a ploy which kept all four on their toes.
“Once you get those opportunities you have to take it and make sure all the hard work pays dividends,” Cole recently noted. “As much as the manager will rotate, you also find if you score goals for Sir Alex then you will stay in the team.”
Basically, the answer is simple: score goals and you start. But what happens when everybody scores; who does the boss opt for then?