Jose Mourinho had seen enough from Anthony Martial at the weekend to give the forward a Manchester United bench call up against Hull City on Wednesday night.
The French attacker’s impressive debut season at Old Trafford has been followed up by an agonising second season without regular first team football.
Martial has scored six goals in 22 matches since Jose Mourinho took charge and the United boss hasn’t been afraid to leave him out of the team, never even the starting line-up, at times.
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And quite naturally, rumours started to flow regarding the player’s happiness at Old Trafford after recently being ousted from the league fixture at Stoke and EFL Cup semi-final second leg against Hull, but the talented forward got a chance to prove himself from the outset against Wigan on Sunday.
Martial was deployed as a lone striker in Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1, but after an ineffective first 45 minutes, the Portuguese tactician switched him on the flank and from that point, the former Monaco man reaped the fruits, as he went on to grab two assists.
Mourinho did mention that Martial was quite upto the mark, but it seems like the Frenchman didn’t do enough to warrant a place in the starting line-up for tonight’s clash.
“He has to perform better than the others who are competing for the same positions (if he wants to start),” the Portuguese manager said.
“His position is one where we have lots of options. Do you want me to leave (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan out after being man of the match and playing so well as he did? I can’t.
The players pick themselves. I am just there to analyse what they do and try to be fair with them. Such a good performance, Mkhitaryan has to play tomorrow. Simple.”
Martial’s current situation led to speculation that he might leave Old Trafford in the January window but no move materialised. However, Mourinho has recently made it clear he has identified the summer transfer targets.
United fans can look for a busy summer though with Mourinho keen to continue shaping his team in his image following his arrival last year.
“In our case, we are more focused on the summer period,’ he said. ‘I like my players, so nothing for me. I know what I want.”