Anthony Martial has scored three goals in his first 110 minutes as a Premier League player.
Is the 19-year-old striker ready to become a hero at Manchester United? The signs are promising.
Martial joined United for a deal worth $55 million on transfer deadline day, making him the most expensive teenager in the history of world soccer, and there are many more incentives built into the deal which could see the overall cost soar past $80 million. The French media mocked United for stumping up a huge amount of cash for a relatively unknown youngster who had scored a handful of goals in the French top-flight for AS Monaco. Many suggested it was a panic buy for United late in the window as Wayne Rooney‘s goal drought in the PL has now stretched to 11 games, the longest of his career.
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However, Martial’s incredible start to life in England has left the doubters in the shadows as his pace sparks danger in-behind opposition defenses, he looks tricky on the ball and against Liverpool on his debut, then against Southampton on Sunday, he took all three of his goals with supreme composure. After making his French national team debut two weeks ago, the man from the same town as Thierry Henry in the suburbs of Paris has already been earmarked to emulate one of the greatest strikers in PL history.
So, what does Louis Van Gaal, the man who stumped up huge amounts of cash for him, think of his new striker?
“He is doing great – three matches in a row and three goals,” Van Gaal said. “When you are 19, you cannot expect consistency. Emotionally they shall have a lot of dips so that I expect also from him but that is not a big problem for me. He adapts to the system of how we want to play, that is also important. Not every player can but he shows he wants to do that. He scores goals. That is the most important thing, that as a striker he scores goals. He can improve I think but he has a high level of talent.”
Martial’s teammates also reserved special praise for their talented young striker following his two-goal salvo gave the Red Devils a hard-fought 3-2 win away at Southampton on Sunday. That win means United have won four of their opening six games and sit second in the PL table, just two points behind crosstown rivals Manchester City.
Van Gaal also spoke about United’s aim to “challenge for the title” after the win at Southampton on Sunday and if they’re going to deliver the crown, especially with Rooney struggling to find form, it seems like the teenager nobody had heard about a few weeks ago will have to play a pivotal role.
Of course, it’s early days and LVG will be looking for consistency from his French prodigy over the coming weeks and month. But on the basis of his first two outings in the PL, Martial is ready to lay down the law to United’s title contenders.