Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has come under severe scrutiny this weekend after another lacklustre performance against Wolves.
Former England striker Alan Shearer has ripped the Frenchman apart, writing in The Sun ‘He just looks uninterested. I never get the impression he enjoys playing football.’
Shearer argues that Martial needs to do more work off the ball, saying ‘That role isn’t just about scoring goals. You also have to bring your team-mates into the game and do plenty of running to get in behind the defenders.’
‘You look at his body language and it says, ‘I don’t want to be a Number 9’.
Shearer also ripped Martial apart on BBC’s Match of the Day, saying that Martial has ‘‘Got to do better, got to hold the play up better, bring people into the game. Too easily shoved off the ball’.
Former Red Paul Ince also laid into the Frenchman, saying ‘I’ve always called him a fizzy drink … You open a can, it fizzes and then it goes flat’.
Respected Telegraph journalist Jim White is equally scathing of the Frenchman’s recent performances. ‘He doesn’t make runs, he doesn’t pull defences apart, he seems to have a phobia about entering the opposition box’ White complains. ‘Meanwhile, any attempt to hold the ball up with his back to goal generally ends with possession ceded and him on the turf vainly appealing for a foul.’
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been forced to defend the 24-year-old, saying ‘Well we’ll give him more support, give him rest when he deserves it, because if he does have that rest,… if you don’t just get there that split second, that’s a massive difference, and I’ve praised him, I’ve sat down with him and I know that he’s tired’. But White is not convinced by the Norwegian’s excuses for his player. ‘It was hard to fathom, watching him on Saturday, quite how Martial can be exhausted given that his contribution to the game is so limited.’
Both Shearer and another former England number 9 Ian Wright believe that despite the arrival of Odion Ighalo, the time has come to give 18-year-old Mason Greenwood a chance to lead the line against Chelsea in the Red Devils’ next game.
‘He’s young, exciting and a natural finisher. After watching Martial’s latest performance, let’s be honest, what have they got to lose?’ said Shearer. Wright agrees: ‘I’d play him … Absolutely … When you look at how Martial has played in that game, I would play him now, absolutely.’