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Anthony Martial was a great signing for Manchester United, however, talent alone does not achieve success

Who could forget the way Anthony Martial introduced himself to the Old Trafford faithful with that wonderful solo effort goal against the old enemy, Liverpool. Martial a rough diamond United signed from Monaco at the beginning of the 2015/16 season was no doubt brought to the club with the belief that one day he could be the best player in the world. After all BBC Sport claimed there is a clause in the deal that states if the Frenchman was to win the Ballon d’Or award whilst he his a United player then the Manchester club will have to pay Monaco an additional fee.

Surely no such clause would be included if both clubs didn’t believe that Martial could go right to the top one day?

After enjoying a successful debut season under the management of Louis van Gaal, expectations about the levels that Martial could reach as a United player went through the roof. He quickly became a massive fan favourite with fans singing his praises regularly around the Theatre of Dreams and beyond. It was the way he became a dependable outlet on the left-wing, frightening opposition full-backs with his pace and trickery and regularly scoring well-taken goals, I remember regularly asking myself have we got the next Thierry Henry here? That debut season yielded 11 goals and four assists in the Premier League alone for the young Frenchman.

Since Jose Mourinho took charge of United at the start of the 2016/17 season, its fair to say that the general consensus is that Martial’s opportunities in the first team have become limited. The question that I have often asked myself is has he been given a fair chance under Mourinho? Or has he simply just not done enough when given the chance to impress the boss? The answer is I’m just torn and it really does divide opinion when I ask other people. One thing we can say though is that it’s pretty clear that Mourinho doesn’t fully trust the player.

A number of times Mourinho has questioned the young Frenchman’s level of performance and willingness to improve as a player to a point where he can become a regular starter in a Mourinho team. The Manchester United boss, in April 2017, said:

“He (Martial) needs to give me the things that I like.”

It’s obvious that Mourinho has been referring to Martial shirking his defensive duties at times in his opinion, the defensive duties that have to be given if you are going to be a wide player in a Jose Mourinho team it seems.

After two seasons of frustration for Anthony Martial where he has seen his development stall and genuine competition come in to the team in the shape of Marcus Rashford and more recently Alexis Sanchez, the question is what is next for the United number 11?

If Manchester United means anything to Anthony Martial, then Martial’s development has to mean everything to United. A lot of money has been invested in a player that has become a fan favourite quickly in Manchester and has shown on a number of occasions he has the potential to reach the very top. It has been suggested that he could join English rivals such as Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea.

We have already seen Mauricio Pochettino’s track record when it comes to developing younger players? Can United risk him going to somewhere like Spurs and seeing him flourish in to the type of player we all know he is capable of becoming?

Written by Joe Smith

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