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Anthony Martial’s encouraging performance against Liverpool

by David O'Neill

Ahead of Manchester United’s preseason outing against Liverpool, Andy Cole threw down gauntlet to a struggling Anthony Martial, suggesting that he needs to boost his effort levels if he is to stay at Manchester United.

Speaking on MUTV, the former England International said of the Frenchman, “He’s got to make his mind up about what he really wants.”

“He’s got all the talent in the world but we’re yet to see it.”

Cole emphasised that he didn’t just mean that fans were yet to see Martial’s best, but rather that those around Carrington were yet to even see the requisite effort.

“I’m yet to see him sprint full out,” he said, “in five years.”

Martial has always had a reputation for a somewhat relaxed –at times even sluggish – demeanour, and the idea that even those privy to Carrington’s inner workings had not seen a player run hard would have done nothing to assuage that reputation.

Cole went on to say that “Hopefully the new manager can get something out of him,” although he did not look at convinced of former Monaco forward’s chances at United.

However, Martial’s performance will certainly have given him a little more hope as the forward showed good habits both in and out of possession.

Plucking a ball from the air to set up a lovely one-two with an electric Jadon Sancho is something we already knew he was capable of, but his energy in difficult conditions is what really stood out.

In the high humidity, the Frenchman had no issues in leading United’s high press, chasing Alisson down into nervy touches in more than one instance.

Joe Gomez will certainly be having nightmares about his performance, having been robbed of possession by Martial on three occasions in the first half.

One was incorrectly called for a foul, but another led to a phenomenal solo goal as Martial chipped Alisson to the delight of United fans.

Withdrawn at half time, the centre forward has every right to be pleased with his performance and has perhaps even thrown his hat into the ring to replace a disgruntled Cristiano Ronaldo.

The challenge, as always, will be consistency.

“That’s the quickest I’ve seen him move!” was Andy Cole’s verdict.

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