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‘MARTİAL HAS COME ALİVE, HE COULD BE WORLD CLASS’



Anthony Martial has “come alive” as a central striker for Manchester United and could end up being a “world class” solution to the Red Devils’ problems in a number nine berth, says Gary Pallister.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer showed considerable faith in the France international when handing him a notable squad number in the wake of Romelu Lukaku’s departure.

Martial has never shied away from the fact that, despite operating in a wide role for much of his senior career to date, he has always seen himself as being at his best down the middle.

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A 23-goal return in 2019-20 has helped to support those claims, although suggestions that United still require a more proven performer to lead the line refuse to go away.

Pallister admits to having bought into that way of thinking at one stage, but the former Red Devils defender now believes that Martial could prove to be a “sensational” asset at Old Trafford.

He told Compare.bet of the 24-year-old frontman: “Yeah, he’s wanted to play there ever since he came to the club.

“To be quite honest with you, up until this season, he hasn’t looked like a striker, he’s been more of a threat coming from the wing. He’s not looked happy on occasion.

“Again, I’d put it down to being allowed freedom. We’re a team that looks forward now, a team that’s not scared anymore. He [Martial] looks a different player now.

“Maybe before, I would have said we were desperate for an out and out centre-forward – we brought [Odion] Ighalo in to do a short-term job and he did really well before the lockdown.

“If he [Martial] was still playing the way he did in previous seasons when he did play up front, I would have said we still need a centre-forward, but he’s come alive.

“He’s been sensational since the season has resumed. He’s scoring goals, he’s on the shoulder of defenders, making great runs, he’s got good ability on the ball to beat a man in the penalty box.

“If he continues that, all of a sudden we’re saying we’ve got a world-class centre-forward and that’s got to be a fantastic feeling for Ole.

“Whether it’s just the arrival of Bruno [Fernandes] that’s given him that belief that he can make that kind of run and be found in the box? Possibly. His body language is a lot better now.

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“We’re seeing the end product of Ole working with the strikers – Marcus [Rashford], [Mason] Greenwood, Martial.

“Ole was a fantastic striker and these lads must be eating up any knowledge he can impart. I think Martial has been our most consistent performer since lockdown ended.”

Martial’s efforts in 2019-20 helped to fire United to a third-place finish in the Premier League and the semi-finals of Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa League competition, but everyone at Old Trafford is determined to deliver more tangible success heading forward.

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‘MARTİAL HAS COME ALİVE, HE COULD BE WORLD CLASS’


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