Anthony Martial made his first international appearance at the weekend since March 2018.
Martial came off the bench for the final 13 minutes to help France to a 1-0 win over Sweden.
Now he is in with a chance of starting Les Bleus’ Nations League match at home to Croatia tonight.
Making an impression
Martial has caught the eye of both manager Didier Deschamps and the French press.
The manager spoke about Martial’s move to become a central striker at his press conference, and praised his development over the past year.
Deschamps told Le Figaro: “He has found some advantages in this new position, because he is closer to the goal so he is more efficient and he has less effort to do than on one side.
“At Manchester United, he really has produced in this role because he is the only striker. He doesn’t have the typical profile of a center-forward, though.
“His trump card is in his grip of the ball and his power, even if he happens to shift to one side to return to the centre too. He has had this versatility for a long time in this new position. He has gained in consistency and efficiency.”
A chance he deserves
Truthfully, we would prefer Martial be left out by Deschamps, guaranteeing he returns to United in one piece, with a point to prove.
But it is undoubtedly very important to the forward that he gets his chance to show what he can do.
Martial will have been hurt by missing out on the 2018 World Cup squad, and now he has his chance back in the Les Bleus set up, he will want to make the most of it.
Last season Martial scored 23 goals and provided six assists for United in all competitions, to finish as the team’s top goalscorer, one ahead of Marcus Rashford.
Getting called up by France was a reward for Martial, but he cannot let up now. He needs to keep up his consistent level of performance, to stand a chance of getting in a very competitive French side for Euro 2021.
All we ask is that he returns to Carrington fully healthy, for the club games which really matter.
Anthony Martial’s journey at Manchester United so far
- Fantastic debut season
United paid an initial £36 million fee to sign Martial from Monaco which could rise to £58 million. He enjoyed a dream start with a memorable debut goal at Old Trafford against Liverpool. Martial netted 17 goals including an impressive FA Cup semi-final winner against Everton as United went on to win the trophy.
- Moved aside under Mourinho
Martial was stripped of the number nine shirt for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which summed up his decreased involvement in Jose Mourinho’s plans. Martial was reduced to a bit-part squad player, featuring from the left. He scored eight goals in 2016/17, followed by 11, and 12 the next two seasons.
- Back as a number nine
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer gave Martial his favoured number nine shirt back and restored him to a central striker role. It was a decision which paid off with Martial grabbing the opportunity and looking hungrier than goals than ever. He ended the 2019/20 season with 23 goals and eight assists, his best tally for both.