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Michael Owen: Anthony Martial is really improving at Manchester United

by Leo Nieboer

Former Manchester United and Liverpool striker Michael Owen has insisted that Anthony Martial is improving under Jose Mourinho.

It has been rumoured over the last few weeks that Martial was frustrated at his recent lack of game time at Old Trafford and keen on a move elsewhere, but the Frenchman quickly labelled such reports as false.

And Martial, ever since dispelling any speculation surrounding his future, has been an effervescent force for Man United, with his latest demolition job coming against Saint Etienne in the Europa League.

Owen, speaking on BT Sport after the game, was quick to heap praise on the way Martial has responded to being left out by Mourinho.

“When you’re playing at a club like Manchester United, you’ve got these players [with pace],” he said. “Manchester United have lacked this in recent seasons in the Moyes and Van Gaal era. There has been a lack of pace in certain areas.

“Now there is such a variety of different types of players like Martial and Rashford. There is a load of pace in the Manchester United side at the moment.”

We saw it with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and now we’re seeing it with Martial: Jose Mourinho wanted to test the Frenchman, to leave him on the sidelines and see how he reacts, perhaps to gauge whether he possesses the mettle needed to succeed at this club.

So away he went, consigned to sitting on the bench and working tirelessly at Carrington until, finally, Mourinho unleashed him once again, this time to storming effect. The spell away from the first team was exactly what Martial needed; he has returned with that unmistakeable veneer of raw menace that characterised his first season at the club, and supporters will hope to see him kick on from here.

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