Following Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat at Watford last Saturday, waves of criticism were thrown in the direction of their under-performing stars.
Paul Pogba, the world’s most expensive footballer, and Wayne Rooney, bore the brunt of this criticism.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSpqrt) September 19, 2016
However, one player who has also underwhelmed so far has been the Frenchman, Anthony
Since joining for an initial £36 million in the summer of 2015, he has illuminated Old Trafford with his youthful, exciting performances.
He was arguably United’s best performer in their disappointing 2015-2016 season, scoring 17 goals across all competitions.
Martial quickly became a fans’ favourite and despite being pushed out onto the wing by Louis van Gaal, remained the team’s focal point.
There were high hopes for the former Monaco player going into Euro 2016 this summer. In front of an expectant home crowd, it was hoped that Martial would help fire France to tournament glory.
Instead, he played a total of 68 minutes, failing to find the net, as France lost 1-0 to Portugal in the final.
A year ago today, a certain Anthony Martial came on for his debut to score at the stretford end against Liverpool??? pic.twitter.com/YBTGefyDa5
— Yanis Gherabli (@YanisGbl) September 12, 2016
So far, his 2016-17 season has not gone much better. He stared the first three league games under new boss Jose Mourinho, but was dropped for the derby at home to Manchester City, thrown on for the last ten minutes.
Martial bristled with confidence last season and scored a number of crucial goals, often carrying the team through matches.
This term though, he looks like a player lacking the confidence and self-belief to take on players and finish-off goalscoring opportunities.
Martial had a game to forget on Saturday, having picked up a head injury in the first half before losing possession in the build-up to Watford’s opening goal a few moments later.
— ManUtd FollowBack (@MU_FollowBack) September 12, 2016
He was immediately substituted by Mourinho, who has yet to grant the Frenchman the full 90 minutes on the pitch.
With the manager expected to make changes to his side in an attempt to halt their poor run of form, Martial could be dangerously close to losing his place in the starting XI.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Jesse Lingard, Memphis Depay and Ashley Young are all waiting in the wings for their chance and could replace Martial out wide.
It’s easy to forget that United’s number 11 is still just 20 years old and that inconsistent performances are to be expected.
However, Mourinho is not the type of manager who will think twice about dropping an under-performing star.
He is a manager who demands instant results, so Martial needs to recapture last season’s scintillating form if he is to remain a vital part of United’s attack.