Manchester United‘s new role for injury-prone star Anthony Martial might just be what the doctor ordered for both the club and the player.
It is no secret that 27-year-old Martial is a supremely talented yet very frustrating footballer. He has the qualities that are needed to be on the top of the world, but he has yet to fulfill that early potential.
While his temperament has always been under the scanner, injuries have also stagnated his progress over the years. Martial has never completed 90 minutes in a Premier League game since January 2021. That can be morale-breaking for any player.
However, Manchester United and the manager might have just found the perfect role for him to make his presence felt in games.
The arrival of new boy Rasmus Hojlund sees Martial find himself in a position that is similar, yet very different. In his early days, the then-young Frenchman had to compete with Rooney and Ibrahimovic for the striker’s spot. While Rooney and Ibra were seemingly on their last legs, Hojlund does not turn 21 until next February. The Dane also is Ten Hag’s first-choice striker, and that means Martial finally has something to lose in a footballing sense.
With Hojlund’s arrival, Martial seems to look rejuvenated, and his substitute appearances have proved that. He looks hungrier and eager to get more involved in the game, thereby providing another dimension in attack. His well-taken finish vs. Palace in the Carabao Cup was evidence of the new-found zest he has been playing with.
The modern-day Martial is unreliable for the entire 90 minutes due to his physical frailties. But he is a quality striker and one that can contribute much more in a shorter time frame. An impact sub who can change games with his skills with minimum effort.
A modern-day Ole Gunnar Solskjaer? Only time will tell.