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Didier Deschamps: Anthony Martial is a different player from the exhausted one at Euro 2016

by Leo Nieboer

France manager Didier Deschamps insists Anthony Martial is a different player from the depleted figure seen during Euro 2016.

Martial, feeling the effects of a sapping 2015/16 season, was a muted figure in France’s Euro 2016 campaign, making just one start – against Albania – and featuring from the bench on two occasions.

However, the 20-year-old stamped his authority on the national side last night with an excellent display in France’s 3-1 win over Italy – crowned, of course, by his well taken goal on 17 minutes.

Speaking after the game, Deschamps claimed Martial is a replenished figure after his holiday break.

“He was the first one who was not satisfied. I spoke with Anthony about this Euros,” he said.

“He arrived there exhausted because he had a very long season. He’s a young player, he has to go through moments like that. He was expecting more from the Euros and me too. But, the things were more difficult. He has to learn from this to progress.

“But as I said to him, I didn’t forget what he did and what he is able to do. Now he begins a new season.

“I told him he will play the first half. When he’s in such a physical condition and in this state of mind, he’s always a danger for the opponent. It’s a good thing.”

To play 50 games – starting more or less all of them – at the age of 19 in your first Premier League season is physically taxing to say the very least. Playing too many games at such a young age can lead to a number of problems: take Michael Owen, for instance, someone who featured regularly for Liverpool at the age of 18, only to be plagued by a number of injuries further down the line.

With a rich array of options now at Mourinho’s fingertips, the side won’t need to rely on the talented youngster every week when it comes to attacking zeal. One suspects that the 53-year-old will use Martial selectively, deploying the youngster at times where his mazy, unstoppable running style would come into full effect.

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