Manchester United need Anthony Martial to perform this season, as one of three forwards at the club.

The Frenchman is splitting the load with Edinson Cavani, who is 35, and 19-year-old Mason Greenwood.

Both Cavani and Greenwood can be cut some slack due to their age. Martial has no such excuse.

Cavani is not back in Manchester yet and won’t be available to start the Premier League season.

Martial is competing with Greenwood for opening day, and United need one of them to step up.

Manchester United Training Session
(Photo by Ash Donelon/Manchester United via Getty Images)

Temper expectations early

Perhaps it is sensible not to put too much pressure on Martial right away.

The Frenchman is just coming off a five-month injury absence and will have had just two weeks pre-season training before the opening weekend, with 45 minutes of friendly action.

Speaking to the club website this week, Martial said he is not yet fully fit.

 

Martial said: “I hope I can get to my full fitness level as quickly as possible now, to set me up for a great season this time round.”

Martial said he had been undertaking careful ‘prep work’ ahead of the season, and in 2020/21 he had ‘niggling injuries which prevented me from being at 100 per cent’.

The forward scored only seven goals, a downturn on the 23 he scored a year earlier.

If Martial features against Leeds and provides a matchwinning performance, or scores or assists a goal, it is a real bonus.

Manchester United v Everton - Pre-season Friendly
(Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

But if he struggles, the negativity which will no doubt surround his performance should not go overboard. Media pundits will no doubt seize the chance to jump in and criticise him after just one game. United fans should try and be more sympathetic.

Martial is still working his way back to fitness, and we may only see him really kick on after the international break in early September.

The early few weeks are a great opportunity for him with Cavani not due back, but this chance may also have come a little too early for him to be thrust straight in.

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