How many second chances can one man get?
It's been no secret that Anthony Martial's career has significantly stalled in the past year. The Frenchman has gone from wonderkid starting to fulfil his potential, to an absent and misfiring striker seemingly unable to recapture any sort of form.
His lack of quality throughout the 2020/21 season saw him lose his starting role to veteran Edinson Cavani - who showed Martial just how it's done. He would eventually finish the campaign with a measly four Premier League goals and missed out on a place in Didier Deschamps' Euro 2020 squad.
A few months on, the 25-year-old has been given another opportunity by his international manager. Recalled into the squad for September's international break, Martial made a 14-minute cameo in France's 1-1 draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina - in which he did very little but lose possession a handful of times - and was given a start against Ukraine last time out.
To give credit where credit is due, the Manchester United forward got on the scoresheet to equalise for Les Bleus. Finding themselves 1-0 down at the interval, it was Martial's snap finish in the 50th minute that gave France a point in Kiev.
However, it was only the striker's second international goal and his first for just under five years. He's done little to really earn a place in Deschamps' side in that time but still finds himself involved on the international scene.
With the France boss' coming under scrutiny, however, leniency to underachievement won't come as freely - and that's where Martial's role comes under serious threat.
The 25-year-old has already lost his place at club level and, following the arrivals of Jadon Sancho and Cristiano Ronaldo this summer, there's a lot of ground to be made up before he successfully regains a starring role at Old Trafford.
Martial has only been given one start by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer this season, coming in the 1-1 draw at Southampton last month during which the Frenchman was hooked off on the hour mark.
And while he continues to feature in France squads, players like Moussa Diaby, Odsonne Edouard and Jonathan Ikone have been knocking on Deschamps' door. Opportunities are decreasing wherever he looks.
His goal against Ukraine was a long time coming and although it could signal better things to come, Martial really has to kick on and take any opportunity to showcase the undeniable talent he possesses. Do this and he should be able to hold down a spot in the France side and, ultimately, regain his manager's faith at club level.
With Kylian Mbappe's injury-enforced absence, the 25-year-old may be given another opportunity in France's forward line when Les Bleus host Finland on Tuesday night.
If he is, then there's no excuse not to play as if his international and club careers depend on it. The simple fact of the matter is that he needs to show quality sooner or later, otherwise we could be saying Adieu.
Source : 90min