Manchester United attacker Anthony Martial has gone on record to say that life on the bench is extremely annoying, as he continues to fight for his spot in Jose Mourinho’s side
The speedy and dynamic French attacker has not had the best of starts to his second season in England. After being a regular feature last season under Jose Mourinho’s predecessor Louis van Gaal, the former AS Monaco star has struggled to replicate his performances this season for the new manager.
After 16 Premier League games this term, Martial has just started in seven of them, making cameo appearances off the bench in another three. However, the Frenchman has not been at his flying best, despite having a goal and three assists to show for his efforts.
In United’s catastrophic 3-1 defeat against Watford at Vicarage Road, Martial was to blame for one of the opponent’s three goals. Rather than clearing the ball he opted to dribble his way out of trouble, and ended up giving the Hornets a chance to hit the Red Devils on the counter-attack.
Mourinho had publicly stated that the 21-year-old needs to up his game after United’s 4-0 win against Feyenoord in the Europa League. He was also quoted as saying (via the club’s official website), that Martial is still continuing to adapt to the manager’s style as he has now become suited to a more possession-based brand of football.
Used as more of a fringe player this season, the France international has expressed his annoyance on the lack of game time. Speaking to broadcaster BRF Sport, Martial said (via The Guardian):
“It’s annoying to be on the bench. It’s truly annoying but it’s a test you have to overcome and that’s how you progress. It’s difficult because all you want is to be able to help the team and, when you’re on the bench, you can’t. But these are choices and you have to accept it.”
Last season, prior to the resurgence of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial was predominantly used as a number nine. His goal on debut against Liverpool won over the admiration of the Old Trafford faithful, and he managed to put in a good run of performances to see United continue challenging for an elusive top-four finish.
This time around, due to the signing of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Martial has hardly been given a look in, at the front of the attack. Mourinho sees the Frenchman as more of a winger, and has preferred to play him down the left flank.
Given the depth in the United roster, Martial has had to fight for his place with the likes of Rashford, Memphis Depay and Ashley Young. At times, captain Wayne Rooney has also been deployed as a left winger – giving Mourinho an embarrassment of riches down that flank.
On the opposite side, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are all fighting hard to make the right-wing spot their own. With a cramped fixture list due to the festive period, Mourinho has confirmed that he will chop and change his lineup, and Martial can thus, see himself given opportunities to impress before the year draws to a close.