Former Arsenal and France midfielder Emmanuel Petit has told Anthony Martial to commit himself to improving at Manchester United this season.
The 21-year-old hasn’t been included in either of Jose Mourinho‘s starting line-ups this season but sent his manager a powerful message on Sunday by taking just ten minutes to claim a goal and an assist against West Ham United.
His lack of involvement under Mourinho has prompted talk of a possible move to Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur, but his cousin recently insisted that Martial would be going nowhere this season.
And Petit, speaking to SFR Sport, has told his fellow countryman to focus on breaching the starting XI at Old Trafford this year.
“Manchester United, they are building a team to play for the title this year,” he said.
“They will play the Champions League, he [Martial] will have playing time and the competitions will be long until the end of the year.
“So going to Inter which is under reconstruction, there are a lot of uncertainties at this level there. It’s a risk to take but I think he has the qualities to claim to play more at Manchester United.
“Whether it is on the left side or even in the centre, he has already shown that he has the instinct of a scorer.”
There appears to be a general presumption amongst the footballing commentariat that Martial is in some way unhappy, or perhaps frustrated, with his predicament at Old Trafford.
But this is the problem with drawing conclusions from body language. Sure, the 21-year-old rarely looks happy. Phil Jones even had to remind him to smile after he scored against West Ham. But this demeanour doesn’t equate with somebody looking for the exit door.
In fact, at least to be, Martial’s stony countenance shows the very opposite. He will know that he underperformed last season, and his emphasis is now firmly on reasserting himself as United’s chief threat from out wide. Nobody should ever write off somebody with such extraordinary talent.