It has been a rather familiar tale for Anthony Martial this season. Fans are used to seeing the Frenchman sizzle on the pitch only to lose his way thanks to injuries and lack of form.
Credit to the French forward for resurrecting his doomed United career since the arrival of Erik ten Hag. It had seemed inevitable that the 26-year-old would be sold by the club in the summer on the back of an underwhelming loan spell with Sevilla.
But Ten Hag came in and gave him a chance during pre-season which Martial took with aplomb. With Cristiano Ronaldo missing pre-season due to personal reasons, the former Monaco star took his chance and grabbed three goals and an assist.
Stop start season for Martial
It was an absolute certainty that Martial would start the season as Ten Hag’s preferred striker. But the first of his injuries struck and he ended up missing his team’s first two games due to a hamstring injury.
Ten Hag on Anthony Martial: “I have several talks with him about that [this season’s injury problems]. It's really disappointing for him. But I think all the minutes he played well, even on Sunday. He made the assist for Antony and played very well.“ #MUFC
— MUFC Scoop (@MUFCScoop) October 12, 2022
United lost those two matches and the coach had to tweak his plans and he opted to give Marcus Rashford a shot in the position. Martial returned from injury and set up Rashford’s winner against Liverpool before once again succumbing to injury.
An Achilles injury forced the French international to miss quite a few games before he returned to the side for the Manchester Derby. His impact was instant as he scored twice in a disappointing 3-6 loss to City.
He once again came on against Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League and grabbed a goal and Ten Hag was so pleased with his striker’s impact that he chose to give him his first start of the campaign against Everton.
He assisted Antony‘s equaliser before a back injury cut short his return to the side. With crucial games coming thick and fast, Ten Hag will once again be without his most potent weapon.
His stats are astounding as in just 133 minutes of football this season, he has contributed to five goals – a rate of a goal or assist every 26.6 minutes.
Ten Hag was quick to praise his striker despite his injury problems but also admitted that it was frustrating for the player as well as the team.
“Not [training] today, we will see before Sunday,” explained Ten Hag, when asked for the latest on Martial during the press conference.
Injuries might take huge toll
“I have several talks with him about that [this season’s injury problems]. It’s really disappointing for him. But I think all the minutes he played well, even on Sunday. He made the assist for Antony and played very well. He fell out and it’s frustrating for him.”
It will not be long before the Dutch boss realises that it is futile to trust such an injury-prone star. Not to mention his lack of application when the going gets tough.
And the same goes for the national team. According to RMC, with just a month to go for the World Cup, Didier Deschamps remains apprehensive on whether he can trust Martial to remain fit and make an impact during the course of the tournament.
And that might mean the national team coach gets forced to snub him ahead of yet another major international event.
It is clear that United need a striker to offset the loss and despite his impact, injuries might mean Martial will continue to falter when it comes to fulfilling his potential.
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