Manchester United striker Anthony Martial has hit the ground running in his debut season at Old Trafford, with the £36M man enjoying a prolific start to life as the Red Devils‘ number nine. Martial, 19, has quickly confounded his critics with ice-cool composure in front of goal, and has now made lofty expectations for himself as a result.
The football’s most expensive teenager was under pressure from the outset after his pricey move to England, but he’s been surprising teammates and critics alike with how easily he seems to have settled. Compared to former Arsenal legend Thierry Henry due to his excessive pace, ruthless slide-rule finishing technique and playing style, Martial looks the real deal at 19.
Formerly of French Ligue 1 side AS Monaco, Martial has represented his country twice at senior level, and has become United’s top scorer for the season after just four appearances in all competitions. The teenager has scored four goals in only 225 minutes of football for the Red Devils, and has quickly become a first-choice in the attack as a result.
Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal initially touted Anthony Martial as one for the future, suggesting that the next manager at the helm will benefit more from the striker than he would, but his £26M man looks ready from the off, to the delight of the Dutch coach.
“It is a little bit of luck. But of course the main thing is his quality. As a player, he has to do it and he has to cope with the pressure. What we have seen until now, he can do it. His personality is that he is an open guy, he is listening, he is watching, he is focusing on the matches. For a manager, he is a very coachable player – that is also why I bought him,” said Van Gaal.
“He is still living in a hotel so he is in the first phase of his adaptation. That is also important because that shall have an influence also. Now he is only living in a hotel, coming to the training session and eating with the players, train and prepare for matches. The big step is when he settles himself in a new environment.”
Despite the burden a large price tag can place on a young player, Anthony Martial seems to be taking it in stride at Manchester United, and could well find himself a PFA Young Player of the Year nominee if he can continue his fine form.