Rio Ferdinand believes Anthony Martial is the only Manchester United player who will strike fear into Manchester City’s players.
The Frenchman’s electric start to life at Man United has taken everybody by surprise and he is heading into this weekend’s derby as one of the Premier League’s most in-form players.
Speaking in Hotel Football this week during an event for Breath Sport, Ferdinand said: “If Chelsea had Arjen Robben, Damien Duff and Didier Drogba all playing you knew you had to be on it.
“But with this Manchester United team I don’t know if there are any players – apart from Martial – whose name you look at on the teamsheet and say ‘he can hurt us if we give him too much time’.
Pace in the modern day game is a Godsend. Even I didn’t want to play against pace, and when I was in my prime I was quick.
“I’d always want to know where my opponent was so I could put my hands on him and move him about.
“I didn’t want someone like an Andy Cole who wants to run in behind you all day and make your life a misery. Martial is like that.
“But he’s not going to do it on his own. He will need other players but his pace is a great asset to have.”
I suppose it depends how you define fear because that’s an objective assessment in this context. City’s players will certainly be worried about what Mata, Rooney and Herrera can do but it could be the unpredictability which Ferdinand is relating to here.
Martial can just as comfortably tuck inside as he can burst out on the wing with pace and that’s a characteristic which makes him so hard to defend against. You simply have to be prepared to cover him in all directions, something a defender simply can’t do, and that’s a tough situation for a defender.
With his debut goal against Liverpool, Martial showed he was immediately ready to make a name for himself in a massive occasion, so while some players may be overawed by the intensity and pressure of a derby game, you get the feeling Martial will be looking forward to the occasion more than most.