Man Utd: Solskjaer comments on Martial's form
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Manchester United have tried Anthony Martial in a number of roles. He was a centre-forward under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a year ago and, before that, a winger under both Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal. But, now, he could be set for a new job: back-up forward.
Martial hasn’t played for Manchester United since the 3-1 FA Cup defeat to Leicester in March.
It was a poor showing from the France international that day, who then picked up an injury while away with his country for World Cup qualifiers.
But, even before Martial toiled at the King Power Stadium, he’d been enduring a problematic season.
A year ago, he appeared on track to fulfil his potential. A tally of 23 goals across all competitions was a record high for the forward, proof he was evolving at the expected rate.
Yet, since then, United have failed to see the best from the 25-year-old.
He’s scored just seven goals this season, a total nowhere near good enough for a No 9 at one of the biggest clubs in the world.
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And, now, the forward may have to settle for a job as backup forward over at Old Trafford.
United have looked far better without Martial since his injury, recent defeats against the likes of Leicester and Liverpool aside.
Edinson Cavani, in particular, is a significant upgrade.
Question marks were asked when United signed the striker on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain back in the summer, having spent the bulk of the window chasing Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.
Cavani took a while to find his feet in English football – which is understandable given he hadn’t played for seven months prior to his arrival.
But, in recent weeks in particular, the 34-year-old has been operating at the peak of his powers.
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Cavani has netted eight goals from his last 10 matches across all competitions, working well in tandem with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood.
And Martial has, simply put, no chance of getting in the team ahead of the Uruguay international at the current moment in time.
He also stands very little chance of beating Greenwood to a starting berth, either.
The England international, like Cavani, struggled during the first half of the season.
There were reports United were concerned about the 19-year-old, who was supposedly late to training.
It also didn’t help that he was sent home from international duty by Gareth Southgate in disgrace back in the summer after breaching coronavirus rules in Iceland.
Yet Greenwood is United’s future, with the Red Devils adamant he’ll soon become one of the best attacking players in the whole of world football.
And, with that the case, Martial may have to settle for a role on the bench next season.
That likely won’t please the Frenchman, who was angry when Mourinho would regularly put him there during his turbulent time at the Old Trafford reign.
And his time at the Theatre of Dreams is now heading to a crunch phase.
Martial can win support round by stepping up when he does return from injury, which could be in time for the upcoming Europa League final.
But another 12 months of struggling could see Solskjaer snap and finally lose patience.
If Martial turns things around, he could save the club millions on potential deals for Harry Kane or Erling Haaland in the future.
However, if he doesn’t, then Joel Glazer may be forced to cash in on a player he believes to be the club’s own version of Brazil legend Pele.
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