Anthony Martial’s name has been in the headlines since the summer of 2015 for all sorts of reasons. His £36m (£58m with add ons) transfer to Manchester United made him the most expensive teenager ever, and with that weight on his shoulders he was instantly under the storm-clouds of the media – labelled a waste of money who nobody had heard of.
It wasn’t long though until the Frenchman was given his chance to show what he was made of and silenced the doubters. He did so in fantastic style with a debut goal against Liverpool and a stunning season to follow, finishing as the clubs top scorer with 17 goals and chipping in with some vital performances. He really set the Premier League alight and his second season at Manchester United under new manager Jose Mourinho was highly anticipated, but it just hasn’t worked for the 21-year-old. Martial has gone from one of the first names on the teamsheet, to making the substitute bench by the skin of his teeth.
It is unclear what has sparked such a glittering player to become a forgotten man at United. Whether it is Martial’s attitude, Mourinho’s tactics, his hangover from last season and his disappointment at the Euros with France, his very public break-up with his wife or his change from No.9 to No.11 – it is really unknown. But it is important that Martial remains focused on Manchester United, and United keep faith in the youngster who is clearly a very talented player.
Martial has been linked with a move to Sevilla on loan in January, but this has been frowned upon by many supporters who want the Frenchman to fight for his place. Mourinho is well known for ‘not giving youth a chance’, but if the work ethic of Martial is in the right place and the performances on the pitch mirror that, then the forward has every chance of becoming a star at the club again. Mourinho himself has said that the 21-year-old can win back his place at Old Trafford, but he will need to follow the example of a certain Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Mourinho told SFR Sport : “Every player is different. I had this season a situation that was more difficult than Anthony – Mkhitaryan.”
“Mkhitaryan was completely open and completely understood the difference between me and other coaches he had. The difference between the demands of the Premier League and the Ukrainian league or even Bundesliga, complete different philosophy of play. And he worked a lot without playing, but he worked a lot to try to reach the level.”
“I think Anthony is very, very young – people forget – and last season Manchester United played completely differently to how we do today.”
“He was basically playing up front. The team had lots of passive ball possession, just waiting to put it into space for Anthony to go and score a goal. This season is more difficult. He needs a little bit of time to improve.”
We sincerely hope Tony Martial won’t be on his way out of the club, but the forward definitely needs to show more of what he can do again in order to impress Mourinho. The chances are there for Martial to take, so let’s hope the youngster can take them.
[Quotes via MEN]