This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking to Sky Sports, Juan Mata has hailed Anthony Martial as an “incredibly talented player”, and tipped him to enjoy a bright future at Manchester United.
What did he say?
Martial arrived in a £36m deal from AS Monaco in the summer of 2015, and has had an up-and-down career at Old Trafford. His memorable debut against Liverpool appeared to point to a superstar-in-the-making, but the France international has struggled to live up the hype and expectations, scoring just 36 goals in 116 league games.
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His start to the current campaign offered more encouragement, with the 23-year-old finding the back of the net twice in three games. Despite seeing an injury disrupt his progress, Martial’s teammate, Mata, has paid a glowing tribute to what the forward can bring to the table.
He said: “He is an incredibly talented player. You can see that since the moment he arrived to the club in his first game against Liverpool. In every training session, the way he treats the ball, the way he takes on people, the way he can win a game by himself.
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“I love this kind of player with such big talent and I love to play with them. He is a very, very good player. He is still young and hopefully he has an incredible career ahead of him.”
Make no mistake about it, United’s goal-scoring troubles this season has essentially turned Martial into a better player than he is. Marcus Rashford’s struggles in front of goal – the England international has scored just three times for the club – has only increased the pressure on the 23-year-old coming back from his injury.
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His impressive beginning to the season made his injury setback all the more frustrating, and Mata’s comments have now heightened the sense of anticipation surrounding his return. And with his side trailing in 12th place in the Premier League after their opening eight games, Martial is already being seen as the saviour to all their problems.
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