Anthony Martial: Why Man Utd Need to Remain Patient With the French Misfit Amid Exit Speculation

​Anthony Martial's Manchester United career is at a crossroads. 

He made a brilliant immediate impact at the club but is yet to fulfil the great potential that he showed in his debut season. He flourished under Louis van Gaal but was inconsistent during the reign of Jose Mourinho.


Despite his differences with Mourinho, ​Martial scored some crucial goals at a time when the Portuguese manager's job was under threat, scoring six goals in seven games from October to November.

Mourinho was sacked in December following a poor first half of the season and Martial enjoyed an excellent spell under then-caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær and ​signed a new contract in January that will keep him at the club until 2025.

However, since Solskjær was appointed as manager on a full time basis, Manchester United's form has been abysmal with Martial also experiencing a decline in fortunes.

Before Manchester United's ​Premier League game against ​Chelsea two weeks ago, a video emerged on social media of Martial putting in very little effort during a warm-up routine. This not only incensed the Manchester United supporters but also infuriated his usually mild-mannered manager. Solskjær ​reportedly berated Martial in front of his team-mates for his lack of effort and proceeded to leave him out of the squad for United's next game against ​Huddersfield Town.

Martial's poor performances of late make you question whether his upturn in form was due to his desire to earn a new contract with higher wages rather than his commitment to the team.

Being left out against Huddersfield was a fall from grace for the man who was considered to be among the best young talents in world football following his strong first campaign at United.

Eyebrows were raised when Martial joined United in 2015 as a relative unknown from Ligue 1 side Monaco for an initial £36m, potentially rising up to £58m. He was branded in some quarters as being a waste of money before he even made his debut, but when he did step on the pitch, his impact was immediate. 

In September 2015 he played his first game for United, against ​Liverpool, coming off the bench and instantly winning the adoration of the United fans by scoring an excellent solo goal. His dream start continued with two goals in his next game against ​Southampton and a goal against ​Ipswich Town in the League Cup. He was named as the Premier League Player of the Month in his first month with the club and also won the Tuttosport Golden Boy award at the end of 2015.

Anthony Martial,Simon Mignolet

He enjoyed an excellent debut season at Old Trafford, finishing as United's top goalscorer with 17 goals in all competitions. Following the arrival of Jose Mourinho his game time was reduced as he found himself being rotated with ​Marcus Rashford.

Mourinho questioned Martial's attitude, work-rate and commitment on several occasions and ran out of patience with the forward in the summer of 2018. Martial was ​fined two weeks' wages after he returned late to the pre-season training, leaving to witness the birth of his child. Mourinho wanted to sell the Frenchman but was overruled by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward who refused to sanction the sale.

The frustration that Martial's managers have faced is clear, the Frenchman is considered to be the most talented forward at the club but doesn't play every week due to problems with his attitude and issues within his game. At a time when the best forwards have to provide an excellent work-rate off the ball, the Frenchman's demeanour is languid. His lack of desire to track back and close people down is in stark contrast to the likes of ​Raheem Sterling​Bernardo Silva​Sadio Mané and ​Mohamed Salah, who have shown the importance of having forward players who are willing to work for their team.

Anthony Martial

United's team is currently disjointed and Martial's refusal to exert himself physically contributes to this. Although he made a brilliant start to his United career, he has several limitations to his game. He is an excellent dribbler, possessing great close control and is a natural finisher but is a one-dimensional player. He seldom makes runs off the ball and only seems to be able to make an impact with the ball to feet. 

This restricts Manchester United's attacks greatly and make it easier for opposition teams to nullify Martial's threat, knowing that he won't make penetrating runs in behind their defence. He is also very right-footed and seems unable to play on the right wing as when he plays there it is more difficult for him to cut back on to his favoured foot and shoot. 

While many of these faults are understandable given the fact that Martial is still relatively young and not yet the finished article, it is imperative that he improves his attitude. It is no coincidence that two different managers have pinpointed this as being an issue. Even though many people attributed Manchester United's poor start to the season to Mourinho's abrasive man-management of the likes of Martial, it is alarming that the Frenchman's attitude has caused even the jovial Solskjær to take issue with him.

Manchester United invested heavily in Martial as a youngster and will want to reap the long-term benefits of his signature. His inconsistent performances and poor mentality have meant that the club have not yet seen the best of him. Although Solskjær has been frustrated by Martial of late, it is important to keep the Frenchman at the club. 

At 23, Martial's best years are still ahead of him and it should also be considered that his instant impact may have raised expectations of him to unrealistic levels. Solskjær and his coaching staff also have a part to play in helping Martial realise his full potential and making him become a more well-rounded player.  

Ultimately it will be up to Martial to determine whether he is yet another player who made a brief impact as a youngster but failed to fulfil his potential, or whether he goes on to become one of the best in the world.

Source : 90min