Erik ten Hag has been at the helm for three pre-season games and has already started to implement his playing style among the squad. He demands that his players run like never before and press the opposition. Anthony Martial has a lot going for him but these are certainly not his strong suits.
However, the Frenchman has emerged as one of the biggest winners of the pre-season tour so far, notching three goals in as many games. However, it has been his overall game that has been most impressive.
He pressed Rhys Williams into making a mistake before a cool chipped finish against Alisson in the match against Liverpool. His striker’s instinct against Melbourne Victory was another classy example of the Frenchman enjoying life under the Dutchman.
— Utd District (@UtdDistrict) July 21, 2022
And such has been his form that he is set to be United’s main man up top when the Premier League kicks off. Even if Cristiano Ronaldo were to stay back in Manchester, the Portuguese is likely to have a watching brief at the start against Brighton.
No one could have predicted this after two nightmare seasons for the former Monaco man. Fans have always had his back but his erratic displays and failure to put a shift in when the chips are down have let the team down on numerous occasions.
And such was his downfall that Sevilla refused to activate their buy option at the end of his loan stint while United were resigned to selling him after two underwhelming seasons. For someone who promised so much and with so much talent at his disposal, it would have turned out to be a damp squib of an ending.
Martial can produce even more
The 26-year-old is a confidence player and when he has the backing of the manager and less competition, he usually shines. His problem seasons occurred when he the club signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani and Ronaldo.
He scored a total of nine goals in his last two seasons for the Red Devils and Sevilla combined while his best season was under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer back in 2019-20 when he hit the back of the net 23 times. That time, he was United’s lone striker and was trusted for all the big games.
— Laurie Whitwell (@lauriewhitwell) July 21, 2022
And Ten Hag has trusted the French international so far and believes he can produce even more if he puts his mind to it.
“I’m sure he can come back even better. I think when he has the right focus and the right motivation and he works hard, he will have production because he is a good player. I say when he has the right focus and every day delivers much, then he will have production and it’s up to him,” the manager was quoted as saying after United’s win over Melbourne.
Even during practice, The Golden Boy award winner has shown glimpses of his undoubted talent — from rounding Tom Heaton, to bringing others into play, quick interchanges to silky skills. Fans at the WACA have been thoroughly entertained so far.
The Dutch manager has the ability to turn a player from a ‘reject’ into a world beater as was the case with West Ham flop Sebastien Haller. And Martial can be his next success story.
Fans who sing his song from the terraces at every opportunity would love to see a full-throttle Martial after quite a gap. Now it is up to the mercurial Frenchman to finally live up to his promise and help United reclaim glory.
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