Erik ten Hag undroppable about to face defining period in Manchester United career
Manchester United's star So far this season, Anthony Martial has been plagued by injuries, but his opportunity to shine could be right around the corner.
When the final whistle blows to finish Manchester United’s friendly against Real Betis on Saturday evening, players of both squads are expected to run straight to the nearest television.
Following England’s 3-0 victory over Senegal on Sunday evening, the Three Lions will face defending World Cup holders France in the semi-finals of this year’s tournament in Qatar. Although there are still many days until the two teams meet, enthusiasm in England is already rising ahead of what is sure to be an exciting match.
The United squad that has traveled to Spain for this week’s warm-weather training camp, which includes two friendlies, in preparation for the Premier League season, which begins on Boxing Day, includes Englishmen such as Tom Heaton, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Brandon Williams, Charlie McNeill, and Joe Hugill. However, among them is a Frenchman by the name of Anthony Martial.
The attacker, who turned 27 yesterday, was not included in France boss Didier Deschamps’ plans for the tournament, despite fellow forwards Karim Benzema and Christopher Nkunku suffering injuries before Les Blues began their title defense. As a result, Martial has been forced to take a back seat and will be rooting for his international colleagues from afar on Saturday evening.
While Martial would surely love nothing more than to pull one over on his English teammates at United on Saturday night, it will not be his primary goal during United’s trip to Spain. After missing most of the season due to injury, the Frenchman’s current break could not have come at a better time.
He has only appeared in seven games this season due to hamstring, back, and Achilles problems. To say he has been unlucky is an understatement.
However, just before the break, Martial, who has scored four goals and registered two assists despite little game time this season, began back-to-back games, starting the 4-2 Carabao Cup win over Aston Villa and the 2-1 Premier League victory over Fulham. It was the start of the former AS Monaco player’s recovery journey, and he will be aiming to take up where he left off after the break in order to prevent any further injury setbacks.
Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has left United, the No.9 slot is Martial’s to lose, even though he was showing far more potential than the former in the months running up to his departure. Martial was outstanding during the Reds’ pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia, and he would have started the season as the club’s first-choice striker if not for a hamstring injury.
He has everything Erik ten Hag looks for in a striker: pace, power, a goal-scoring eye, and the ability to link play. His contribution to Christian Eriksen’s opener against Fulham last month demonstrated this, implying that he should become a regular in the team, as Ten Hag like United to play.
The key for Martial now is to stay fit and establish himself as a reliable provider of goals. United have failed to score goals at a rapid pace this season, and they badly need to add a striker to their ranks in the forthcoming January transfer window if they are to improve their prospects of finishing in the Champions League positions.
However, if United does not sign a new striker before the summer, Martial will be faced with spearheading the attack, putting pressure on him to deliver on a consistent basis for the rest of the season. Given how he has responded to Ten Hag’s belief in him, he has a good chance of succeeding if he can keep his health.
As a result, the period following the World Cup could be the most important in Martial’s United career to yet. This will be his chance to establish himself as the Reds’ go-to player at the top of the pitch and prove his worth.
The warm-weather training camp in Spain will help Martial to maintain his fitness levels before returning to competitive action in the Carabao Cup against Burnley shortly before Christmas. If he makes the most of this journey and comes out shooting at the start of the restart, United may be less eager to bolster their assault.