Anthony Martial’s first season at Old Trafford was an outstanding one. It’s no exaggeration to suggest the Frenchman was Manchester United’s most dangerous attacker, notching double-figures in the Premier League after his big money move from Monaco. He even earned himself an iconic chant along the way — one of those you can imagine ringing around Old Trafford for years to come.
But alas, he hasn’t enjoyed his time under José Mourinho so far. Despite being handed starts in three of United's games in August, a string of sub-par performances ensured he was swiftly dropped, unable to live up to the lofty standards he set last year. In all, he appeared in less than half of United’s Premier League lineups, and returned only four goals.
As is invariably the case, supporters have been quick to brand Martial workshy and petulant, quickly forgetting that some of his very best performances in a United shirt have been delivered with the kind of Gallic shrug Eric Cantona himself would’ve been proud of. In truth, we don’t really know what has caused Martial’s drop-off, and we can only hope that it’s resolved over the next few months.
What we do know is that he’s still only 21, and has all of the attributes to become one of the very best attackers on the planet. It’s much to early to be reversing our original assessments and declaring that it actually was 50 million down the drain after all. If Mourinho plays it right, he’ll find Martial a serious asset. Needless to say, next season will be a decisive one in the Frenchman’s United career.
José Mourinho approval rating: Training ground tough love.