Paul Scholes has given a slathering assessment of Manchester United’s Anthony Martial, and believes his former club still needs a world-class centre forward to return to glory days. The Frenchman has blown hot and cold during his time at Old Trafford, and still divides opinion over his actual position on the pitch.
Martial joined Manchester United from Monaco in 2015 as a 19-year-old, and ticked all the right boxes after scoring on his debut against Liverpool. The Red Devils paid a fortune for his services, but the Frenchman responded by scoring 17 goals from 49 games to announce his arrival at the big stage. He played more than half of those games in the centre-forward position.
However, in the next couple of seasons, Martial found himself playing mostly as a left forward in the Manchester United front three, where he often competed with Marcus Rashford for a place in the team. Chances of playing as the central striker were hard to come by, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Romelu Lukaku in the team, and the goals dried up too. The Frenchman only scored 31 times in his next 125 games.
Last season, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reinstated Martial as the Manchester United No. 9, even giving him the coveted jersey. The result? 23 goals from 48 appearances in all competitions!
However, that has not been enough to convince Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, who has played with some world-class No. 9s at Old Trafford. Martial has endured a tough start to the new season, like the rest of his team - he is yet to score after 3 games – and that has certainly not helped matters.
Manchester United do not have an actual centre-forward, according to Paul Scholes
Scholes pointed out that even though the forwards at Manchester United are talented, none of them is a proper centre-forward.
"These forwards are exceptionally talented lads. We all know that. The problem with United’s forwards is that none of them is an actual centre-forward," Scholes said.
The Englishman also accused Martial of instigating Manchester United fans with vague promises by pretending to be a centre-forward. Scholes concluded that while the Frenchman was impressive at the back end of last season, his indifferent form this term proves that he is not a proper centre-forward. The Englishman reiterated that his former team still needs a world-class No. 9.
"Martial almost conned us into thinking he was one at the end of last season because he scored so many goals and was quite good. He’s started this season quite poorly again, which makes you think he isn’t. It’s misleading. That’s why I kept saying we need a top class Number 9," he said.
Solskjaer spent much of the summer pursuing Jadon Sancho of Borussia Dortmund, a player he wanted to put alongside Martial and Rashford in attack. After missing out on the Englishman, Manchester United settled on veteran striker Edinson Cavani, but Scholes thinks the Uruguayan is past his prime and should have been at most a loan signing.
With the new season still in its nascent stages, it would be criminal to write Martial off at the moment. However, if the Frenchman wants to prove Scholes and his other doubters wrong, he needs to shed off his shaky start and find his way back to goals soon. Or else, with Cavani and Mason Greenwood in the Manchester United squad, Martial could once again be pushed out wide on the pitch.Published 13 Oct 2020, 20:47 IST