Anthony Martial has been nominated for the PFA ‘Player of the Month’ award following a superb October during which he scored four goals.
Prior to playing Young Boys in the Champions League, Martial’s situation at Old Trafford felt almost untenable. He was not playing under Mourinho. When he was, the Frenchman looked miles off the pace.
But that second half in Switzerland, which saw Martial score his first goal since January to cap off a dazzling display, has kickstarted something special. With Alexis Sanchez injured over October, Martial has occupied the left hand side and reasserted himself as Man United’s chief attacking threat.
Against Newcastle he was central to United’s second half fight-back. Against Chelsea he was the outright game-changer, scoring twice at a stadium where United only ever lose. Against Everton he was, without doubt, the player United were turning to for something special, which he duly provided in the second half in the form of a fantastic curling effort past Jordan Pickford.
He has, unsurprisingly, won United’s ‘Player of the Month’ award but he deserves to be recognised for more than that.
At their glittering best, Martial’s performances belong in the same category as Eden Hazard and Sadio Mane. His raw ability and capacity to thrill with the ball at his feet is as good as any player in this division.
What we have seen over the last month is not just a return of Martial’s confidence and rhythm but indeed proof that he is too special to be a second or third choice left winger at Old Trafford. He deserves to be the side’s attacking talisman. The rest of the team would certainly agree: just look at how eager they were to give him the ball against Everton.
Mourinho needs to give Martial’s talent the platform it deserves. He will know that creating quick movement through the middle and getting the ball to the Frenchman early will bring about devastating results.