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What's Wrong with Anthony Martial?

Thursday 10th August 2017
Anthony Martial's Man United transfer may total £60 million when his existing contract is fulfilled. Many expected more from the former European Golden Boy.

A few important goals and the odd flash of brilliance are all United have to show for their lavish expense. What is preventing Martial from achieving his great potential?

First, it should be noted Martial is still only 21. He has shouldered some hefty labels during his relatively short professional career. Not only was he named European Golden Boy in 2015, he has also been heralded as Thierry Henry's natural successor in the French national team, thanks to his calm approach.
Sponsors are slim for Martial being the next Henry. Louis Saha, mainly.

Yet, the similarities are clear when you examine the younger Frenchman's playing style. Martial will rarely throw himself to the ground and possesses excellent balance, two of Thierry Henry's most likeable traits. Add in the fact his footwork can be mesmerising and you've got a very well rounded 21-year-old.

Sixty million worth, however? Not quite.

His goals to games ratio for United (25 in 91 appearances) is poor. Nor is he still creating for others at the rate he did in his debut season at Old Trafford. When Louis Van Gaal and Ed Woodward first conspired to sign Martial, he was scoring and creating ably for Monaco. In England, his rate has failed to improve in both respects.

Under Mourinho, Martial is finding his first team opportunities ever more limited. The Portuguese persists in selecting Jesse Lingard rather than him. You can't blame Martial for looking like he's wearing a permanent sulk. When a lad who wouldn't be allowed to shine Ryan Giggs' boots in being picked ahead of you, it's difficult to turn your frown upside down. His expression could be a factor in Mourinho's hesitance to include Martial in the starting XI. Then again, given the physical, edgy players Mourinho typically favours--put your hand down, Ander Herrera--maybe the boss is looking for a tantrum?
The last thing Manchester United need is another pouter dragging the side down. Wayne Rooney's snits are a thing of the past. Nani is stropping elsewhere. There's a real feel good factor around the squad which seems to be buoying the team on to improved performances. Coincidence? I think not.

Martial's attitude seems to be his biggest weakness. Happily, it reminds me of a young Cristiano Ronaldo more than anyone else. Talk about pressure. Still, back in the day, Ronaldo could spit his dummy out with the best of them. It began to have a negative effect. Van Nistelrooy departed. Roy Keane had some choice words for Ronny. Even the doting Sir Alex had to have words.

Had Martial joined the club under Fergie, he would likely be playing every game with a smile on his face. Clearly the boy wants to be first choice consistently. To make it happen under current management, though, he must adjust his attitude sharpish.
Kristian Webb
A Manchester United fan who actually knows where Manchester is; I'm the chief writer for AccumulatorTips, ForzaSwansea and a contributor to WhatCulture's video game section. I'm a professional proofreader, content author and SEO Expert but that doesn't mean there won't be the odd grammatical error!

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