Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to show Anthony Martial some love after the French forward has fallen down the pecking order at the club. Former United striker and treble winner in the 1998/99 season, Teddy Sheringham thinks this needs to happen in order for the player to find his feet again.
The United legend has sympathy for the 25-year-old, who had a terrific season during 2019/20 when he scored 23 goals and 12 assists in 48 appearances, which was his best ever season for the club. Sadly, the Frenchman was not able to live up to those expectations last season, scoring seven goals and nine assists in 36 appearances.
This season, Martial has made six appearances, playing in the Premier League four times and one in each of the UEFA Champions League and the Carabao Cup, however, has not scored any goals or assists – in fact, the Martial has played, he has looked terrible, uninterested and void of confidence. Something needs to give. The player has already been linked with a £40 million exit during the January transfer window.
I can also sympathise with the player for his dreadful run of form but he should be able to pull himself out of whatever he is going through without former players of the club suggesting that he needs more love from the manager. This is quite embarrassing for the club and the player. This is not the first time that Martial has looked like he hates life at the club and it is not the first manager he has been like this under either.
Sheringham stated that he feels that Martial is under pressure every time that he plays for United, which is the case considering the array of talent in the attacking ranks of the club this season. Solskjaer has Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani, Mason Greenwood and the Frenchman who could lead the line. In the wide positions he has Marcus Rashford, who started the season injured after shoulder surgery and still has not played, Jadon Sancho, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Amad Diallo, who is on the sidelines through injury.
This puts each player under pressure to perform, or another player will be given a chance. If the pressure is too much for Martial at United, why should he be treated any different to other players at the club? If it is too much, he could leave the club. He’s reportedly on £250,000 and that sort of wage will come with the pressure to perform. Right now, Martial is not worth a fraction of the wage as he does nothing for it. He’s not being victimised – just expected to perform his duties on the pitch – it is not hard to understand.
Sheringham spoke to The Mail about Martial’s situation, comparing the situation that Martial finds himself in with Tammy Abraham’s resurgence at AS Roma after being sold by Chelsea in the summer, scoring two goals and two assists in eight appearances. The former United striker said;
“It’s similar to Harry Kane and Tammy Abraham, centre-forwards need to be loved.
“If you’re not feeling loved and appreciated, if you feel you have one chance to do well in the Carabao Cup and if you don’t you’re not going to get anywhere near the Premier League games, it does put pressure on you.
“Tammy has gone to Roma and Jose Mourinho has said ‘go in there and if you miss chances, you’re not going to be out the team straight away’.
“It gives you a relaxed time. Footballers need to be relaxed and cool in front of goal, not snapping at chances.
“When you are loved by a manager, you have that feeling. Martial obviously isn’t getting that at the moment because there are other players at the club in front of him and you feel like you have to snatch chances when you can.”
Martial started against West Ham United in the third round of the Carabao Cup last week and was criticised for his performance, or lack of during the match, which in my opinion was right. A player that is not performing well should be out to correct that every chance they get to represent their club. It does not look good for Martial, especially if he also feels that he needs to be shown more love at the club.
The way I see it is that if you do not perform, the more whinging and moaning you do will not change that. Hard work, determination and belief will help most people through a crisis but this is something that we have seen before with the Frenchman and it will be something that we see time and time again.
United will face Villarreal in the Champions League group stage this evening, a match that the club will need a win to get points on the board in their group, which is seemingly one of the easier groups in the competition this season. It seems likely that Martial will need to wait for his next chance to play again, which will lengthen more when Rashford is fit and able to play again.
When you have teammates such as Ronaldo, Rashford, Greenwood, Cavani, Amad, Sancho – who will all be seeking to play regularly, if you are not performing as well as is expected, the bench will be the likely place for them. Martial should look at the position that he has been in before and how he got out of that – maybe try the same thing again. But more importantly, he should look why he is in this position again.
Written by John Walker