Anthony Martial can be one of the best players in the world, this is what he needs to focus on becoming…

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera has stated that he feels teammate Anthony Martial can become ‘one of the best players in the world’. During the past season, the Frenchman did not have the best time under manager Jose Mourinho which led to him being benched more often than not and when given a chance to show his abilities, he rarely did so. Many blame his poor performances on the arrival of Alexis Sanchez which, all said and done, should bring the best out of any player but it did not do that with Martial, who ended up not being part of France squad which won the FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Martial’s agent, Philippe Lamboley has previously stated that the player wants to leave the Old Trafford club this summer, however, United do not seem all that keen on selling the player. A month or so ago, many journalists would have you believe that Martial was going to sign for Juventus this summer but the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo seems to have suggested the Italian giants were not interested in the Frenchman and with the lack of professionalism shown by the player last season, why would they be?

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United signed Martial from AS Monaco on deadline day in the summer of 2015 and at the time, journalists, pundits, and other ABUs mocked United for spending £36 million on the relatively unknown Frenchman. Immediately, because United had spent what seemed like a lot of money on a teenager, it would always be a waste of money. After the international break, Martial made his debut at Old Trafford against Liverpool in the Premier League, scoring and announcing himself in the world of football. Of course, journalists referred to the total amount that could be spent on the player – £56 million, not the £36 million spent.

Martial has cost United around £8 million since signing, making the total outlay so far to about £44 million or thereabouts. He is now into the last year of his contract, although United have the option of adding another year to his current deal, therefore keeping him at the Theatre of Dreams until the summer of 2020. There seems little interest in selling the player, where Ed Woodward is concerned with reports suggesting that he could be a star in the making, therefore could be a regret if United ever sold him.

Last season, Martial started in good form, scoring five goals in the first eight matches of the season, in all competitions. Martial scored six more goals before the end of January, which was all for the season. Many will say he was in frightening form before Sanchez arrived, which is partly true but there were long spells of nothing from the Frenchman, which is something which is easy to forget for those with an agenda. Sanchez was brought in to strengthen Martial’s position and possibly to buck up his ideas, which have so far not worked. Herrera, speaking about Martial and his potential so far this summer, said:

“He’s very talented. He can be one of the best players in the world and I think he is very focused this season to smash it.

“When you have players like Anthony, like Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Alexis Sanchez, those kind of players that can change the game.”

“If one of them cannot play, we have three or four more so we have lots of options. I think we shouldn’t think that any other club in the Premier League has better players because at least we have as good as the opponents.

“Now it’s all about work, confidence, about keep playing like he did today. I am confident with them because they are all amazing players and Anthony looks very sharp.”

Martial has a big season ahead of him, whether that is at United or elsewhere. He will need to find the professionalism which will help him succeed as a top player. If he takes offence at other players coming in to add competition in a squad, nothing is ever going to head in the direction he wants. The grass is never always greener on the other side and the lack of fight may prove him to be a weak link for any club he plays for if he continues in the direction he is going, which is sure to turn him into Nicolas Anelka 2.0.

Martial is a class player and has the world at his feet. Most of the fans who support him seem to give him too many excuses for poor performances. The one thing the last season has suggested is that he may not have what it takes to succeed at the club. I’m sick of seeing all these players who need cuddles rather than being told they need to work harder and sulking on the sidelines. Also, players who need to have everything their way is something that should not be present in the game. Life is never like that so why should it be manufactured for them?

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If he remains at United, of course, he will have my support and I am sure every United supporter will be behind him. Mourinho suggested at the end of the season that if he remained a United player, he would play more football in a central role with Mourinho seeking to take some pressure off Romelu Lukaku. Martial started as the striker against Club America in the club’s first pre-season match of the summer and could remain in the role for tonight’s match against San Jose Earthquakes, which will commence at 22:00 BST in the United Kingdom.

I would like to see Martial brush off what he went through last season, possibly look at the support he was given in Mourinho’s first season at the club at a time whereby he was going through some personal issues. Support is give-and-take, but so far, Martial has given very little. If he sorts out his attitude and realises that if he digs deep, knuckles down and performs to his own abilities, which on his day are immensely high, the world could be his oyster. His pace, vision and the ability to score goals galore will be something that propels him to the top of his game.

I hope he takes his chances and proves that he is the player United want and need. This coming season, if he remains at United, this is the minimum that he needs to do. Kick back all the criticism, cast it all out of his mind and have one goal – becoming the best player in the world. It will cost United more money but if that happens, it is because he has what it takes to succeed and is doing just that. United and more importantly, the supporters of the club would embrace that. We all want Martial to succeed but the overpraise he has received is just not due – not yet anyway.

Written by Dave Preston

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