The biggest question over Anthony Martial is not attitude or ability, it's over his fitness
Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential departure from Manchester United could re-ignite Anthony Martial’s career at Old Trafford.
Not perhaps through choice, but because United don’t have anybody else to lead the line right now. Even if a new striker is signed, Martial still could have a role leading the line.
Still technically United’s number 9, Martial returned to Carrington last week with a smile on his face, looking forward to yet another fresh start.
Martial, 26, could be a player who manager Erik ten Hag can improve, at least in the short-term, but the Frenchman will have to win United supporters over.
The biggest question over Anthony Martial
There have been consistent questions over Martial’s attitude since he joined United. He can perform when things are going his way, but when presented with a challenge, he often wilts under the pressure.
Martial has a big job to show Erik ten Hag he is up to the task. Since joining United, Martial has only scored more than 20 goals once.
His 23 goal season in 2019/20 shows he can do it, but this is the exception. And in the two subsequent seasons, more questions have emerged over the Frenchman’s capability to stay fit.
During his loan spell at Sevilla, Martial suffered three separate injuries. This completely disrupted his time at the club.
This saw him fail to make the matchday squad for nine La Liga games, and made only nine La Liga appearances.
Martial also suffered injuries in the first half of the season with United which led to him missing two out of six Champions League group stage squads.
At the start of the 2021/22 season Martial barely seemed fit, after an extended lay-off from a knee injury which saw him miss Euro 2020, and Manchester United’s Europa League final.
Fitness issues earlier that season saw Martial miss United’s final Champions League group stage game away at RB Leipzig, a 3-2 defeat.
What the last two seasons have shown, is that Martial’s fitness problems have made him a not very reliable player, and this has impacted his form.
Now, with United losing Ronaldo, Erik ten Hag is currently looking at a situation where he has to rely on Martial. It may simply not work.
Even if you throw out concerns over ability and attitude, which Ten Hag could deal with, injuries are not in the manager’s control.
If Martial is United’s back-up option, he could prove to be of value. But seeking to rely on him is asking for trouble.