The Frenchman, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic injured and Marcus Rashford enjoying a rest following recent excursions, was handed a rare chance to feature at No.9 by Jose Mourinho, who had recently called on the Frenchman to improve his tally in front of goal at Man United.
And Martial, in response, delivered an emphatic message to his boss ahead of an important run of games with a dazzling performance hallmarked by a goal and an assist for Wayne Rooney.
Neville didn’t need much time for deliberation when it came to choosing his ‘Man of the Match’.
“I picked Martial for the man of the match,” he said. “Aside from his goal and his assist, he set himself a standard with his work-ethic and his running, particularly after the criticism in midweek.”
Rashford demonstrated last weekend that, when placed at the masthead of United’s attack, he can lead an impressively ferocious onslaught going forward: unpredictable, fluid, efficient and capable of pulling defences apart.
And Martial, just a week later, made it clear to Mourinho – and indeed the watching world – that he can do the same. Moving the younger away from the left hand side and giving him a freer role was liberating for all to see. The Frenchman, often a sulky, brooding figure on the pitch this season, looked buoyant, determined to impose himself in any way he could in the Lancashire sun.
United fans will hope that this performance serves as an exciting precursor to displays of a similar ilk as the season reaches its climax over the next few weeks.