Man Utd news: Van Gaal plots Martial forward future as striker

Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | November 3, 2015

Emerging French football talent Anthony Martial’s position long-term should be as an out-and-out striker, according to Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal.

Signing for the Red Devils from Monaco, costing £36m this summer, the teenage attacker has scored five goals in a dozen outings for his new team so far ahead of the Champions League Group B return fixture between Man Utd and CSKA Moscow. His sensational start means Coral offer special odds of 4/1 for Martial to be named PFA Young Player of the Year.

“Better he develops in striker’s position”

Soccer - UEFA Champions League - Group B - CSKA Moscow v Manchester United - Manchester United Training Session - Carrington Training Ground

“He is very young but I think it is better he develops in the striker’s position,” Van Gaal said of Martial. “But he can play left, striker and number 10. He doesn’t want to play number seven [wide right], but I am convinced he can; that’s another story.”

Martial’s remarkable progress since arriving at Old Trafford earned him praise by compatriot couple and former Red Devils duo Paul Pogba and Louis Saha.

Gatecrashing Les Bleus’ setup at a time when highly-rated Lyon duo Nabil Fekir and Alexandre Lacazette have suffered a serious injury and experienced a huge downturn in form respectively, Martial’s directness in front of goal provides an X-factor to excite French football fans.

Euro 2016 a stage on which on shine

Soccer - International Friendly - Denmark v France - Parken Stadion

National coach and former World Cup winning captain Didier Deschamps certainly believes the hype, capping Martial in all four Euro 2016 warm-up fixtures since he promoted the world’s most expensive teenager from the youth team.

Joining target men Karim Benzema and Olivier Giroud, plus all-round attacking outlet Antoine Griezmann, Martial made an assist on his full senior international debut against Denmark after three sub appearances. Les Bleus suddenly have striking strength in depth perhaps not equalled since their 2006 World Cup roster.

The ironic thing is it was only six weeks ago that Van Gaal downplayed Martial’s move as one for the future. “I have not bought Martial for me,” he said in September. “I have bought him for the next manager of Manchester United.”

Happily for Man Utd and France, the future may have already arrived in marvellous Martial. Watch this space, especially when he is egged on by adoring home support at next summer’s Euro 2016 finals.


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