Anthony Martial 20 Midfielder Manchester United France
Watch the goal he scored against Liverpool on his debut for Manchester United and it just about tells you everything you could need to know about Anthony Martial.
Every time he gets the ball at his feet he is looking to get forward and attack teams. He enjoys running at defenders and forcing them into making awkward decisions – should they lunge in for the tackle or hope they can front up and shepherd him away from danger? Unfortunately for them, he’s a bastard for a shimmy inside and a curling effort into the far corner.
It doesn’t hurt that the two important parts of that – dribbling with the ball at pace and finishing into small gaps – are two of Anthony’s strengths.
2016 has been…
…tough in places.
His incredible run to start his time in England was never really going to be sustainable but instead of falling back to a string of average performances, Anthony seems to have fallen away below even average.
Important goals against Southampton, Swansea, Everton and twice against Liverpool quickly endeared him to the Old Trafford faithful. In a season that featured a lot of pedestrian football from a team drilled to within an inch of their lives; Martial was the spark that kept fans hopeful.
Since the summer and the very public change of manager he’s had a tough time getting a run in the first team. Some of that will be because of Jose Mourinho’s insistence that every single player in his team puts in their shift defensively. Defensive work is not something Anthony can be relied on to do, and as such he won’t be carried in a Mourinho team.
Jose is unlikely to change his system to suit one player. Instead he is more likely to starve him of opportunities until he changes. Anthony will also have been affected by some off the pitch difficulties and we do make allowances for that.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are the two players that Manchester United fans would like to think will be still part of the team in approximately five years’ time. They are young, exciting and fearless – players that fans can get behind.
For now, both need to playing regularly in the team. Martial is further away from that than Rashford who has shown himself to be a hard worker. For now the Frenchman is the luxurious back-up though, we suggest his time will come.
At 20 he is the type of player we’d be thinking about developing the team around. As long as there is a long term goal to shape the play of the team so that it gets the best out of Anthony Martial, the club won’t feel so bad about paying Monaco that Ballon d’Or bonus that is part of his transfer deal. He’ll be worth it.
C Good has just about outweighed the bad
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