Jose Mourinho has had some very interesting things to say about Anthony Martial‘s future at Manchester United.
The French international, 20, did not feature for United in their 4-0 UEFA Europa League win against Feyenoord on Thursday and under Mourinho he has failed to hit the heights of his debut season at Old Trafford in 2015-16.
Speaking to the media ahead of United’s clash against West Ham on Sunday (Watch live, 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Mourinho wasn’t scared to issue a wake up call to Martial.
“You have one opportunity, you have two, you have three – if you don’t bite then somebody comes and takes the bait,” Mourinho said. “Anthony was OK for Feyenoord. I cannot play with 12 players.
“The way the team played last season – I’m not saying better or worse, just different – was probably more adaptive to Anthony. He was probably more comfortable playing that way, at that intensity, that rate of ball possession and ball circulation.”
Martial has scored twice in 13 appearances for United this season and he’s often been thrust out to the left wing under Mourinho.
In recent weeks, Martial has been yelled out by Mourinho on the sidelines particularly for his effort with defensive work. After losing a few tackles and seeing his positional sense called out, Martial looks to have been struggling to adapt to Mourinho’s methods.
Last season he scored 17 goals in 48 appearances under Louis Van Gaal and shone cutting in on the left flank for United. This season, he looks a little lost. Plus, rumors about him not being happy with his No. 9 shirt being handed to Zlatan Ibrahimovic this summer were rife.
Perhaps all of this talk about Martial’s future has led to the latest batch of speculation surrounding a new arrival at Old Trafford.
Chelsea’s Brazilian forward Willian, 28, has been linked with a move to link up with Mourinho once again. Willian was by far Chelsea’s best player last season but has not featured in Chelsea’s last two matchday squads with Pedro and Eden Hazard ahead of him in the pecking order.
Willian went back to Brazil on compassionate leave earlier this season after his mother passed away and since he returned he has struggled for minutes with Antonio Conte asking him to stay focused and keep working hard in training.
If Martial was sold (assuming his future seems bleak at Old Trafford), would bringing Willian in makes sense for a United side already stacked with an array of wide attacking players in Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, Memphis and Marcus Rashford.