Journalist Jacque Talbot has shed some light on the situation surrounding Manchester United forward Anthony Martial during pre-season.
The lowdown: Misfiring Martial
There have duly been question marks over the 26-year-old’s ongoing future at Old Trafford, particularly after a loan move to Sevilla for the second half of the 2021/22 campaign yielded just one assist and no goals in nine outings, with the La Liga outfit rejecting the chance to make the transfer permanent.
Having returned to the United squad, Martial scored in the 4-0 pre-season victory over Liverpool in Bangkok, and one onlooker has provided further information about how the France international has been faring under the watchful eye of Erik ten Hag…
The latest: ‘Absolutely phenomenal’
Speaking to Give Me Sport, Talbot – a European football correspondent for The Times among other outlets – claimed that the 30-cap France star has been in dazzling form in training under the new United manager.
He said: “There are rumblings from Manchester United that Martial has been absolutely phenomenal under Ten Hag since he’s come in.
“It’s such a short space of time. I don’t know how much credence you can put on that because you do see plenty of players have these amazing pre-seasons.”
The verdict: Too risky
Although seeing the one-time United Players’ Player of the Year come good in Manchester again would be some further justification for the original signing, whilst also saving money in the current market, showing any level of faith in a forward who has been so woefully out of form is a huge gamble.
With doubts remaining over the future of 37-year-old Cristino Ronaldo, and Edinson Cavani now a former Red Devils player, Ten Hag cannot afford to misplace trust when it comes to the centre-forward role.
Martial – who was described as ‘as being ‘unplayable’ on his day by former United striker Louis Saha – has scored just five Premier League goals in two years, albeit blighted by injury at times, not the sort of record which is conducive to returning to the upper echelons domestically or indeed in Europe.
Not only short when it comes to direct goal involvements, the 26-year-old also struggled in Spain, leading to a lowly 6.51 Sofascore rating. He lost possession eight times per match in La Liga, highlighting a lack of in-game confidence which cannot be restored by training and pre-season alone.
Still under contract until 2024 (Transfermarkt), there is no immediate need for United to make a big call regarding the £14.4m-valued Frenchman. However, it still seems unlikely for now that the impressive summer work will translate into a leading role under Ten Hag next term.
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