Solskjaer hopes Martial can emulate Ronaldo

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has big plans for Anthony Martial.

The Frenchman signed a new long-term contract at Manchester United on Thursday, with Martial sticking around until at least 2024 and the player has an option to extend it for another year.

Speaking about Martial’s new deal ahead of United’s trip to Leicester City on Sunday (Watch live, 9:05 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) Solskjaer revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo could be the inspiration for Martial moving forward.

No pressure, Ant…

“I’m here to help players, to guide players until the summer and I think when you sit him down and talk to him, for example, about Cristiano’s career, what he’s made of his career and how he’s got there and we talk about all the fantastic players with the history they’ve got, I think Anthony just said, ‘If I can be a part of this I’d like to,'” Solskjaer said.

“I speak about my experience at this club and what [Martial] can achieve. I talk about Cristiano’s career, what he’s made, how he’s got there. That’s up to any player, how you make a decision on how to develop your own career. Cristiano was the best, the way he’s changed to now; that’s part of any player – you’ve got to model yourself on someone and you’ve got to have more challenges ahead of you.”

Martial’s return of 46 goals in 127 appearances for United is pretty decent considering a huge chunk of his games have been off the bench under Louis Van Gaal and Jose Mourinho. Since Solskjaer arrived, and even in Mourinho’s final weeks, Martial has been in fine form and United’s¬†caretaker boss said he wants to see the French international get behind defenses more often due to his fine finishing ability.

Solskjaer obviously believes in Martial, whether or not he’s in charge beyond this season, and that has played a huge part in him remaining at Old Trafford. Some of Europe’s top clubs were circling for the 23-year-old, but he will now get the chance to become a more consistent performer and kick on after the flashes of promise he’s shown since arriving at United in 2016 as a teenager.

He may never get to Ronaldo’s level, but there is a sense that Martial is improving month after month right now. His potential is obvious.

In team news for United, Solskjaer revealed that Martial should be fit after recovering from a knock and he will train ahead of the clash on Sunday.

Paul Pogba, who limped out of Old Trafford following the late comeback 2-2 draw against Burnley on Tuesday, is also fit for the clash with the Foxes.

Solskjaer knows that Leicester away is never an easy task, especially with Claude Puel‘s men buoyed by their fine display and 1-1 draw away at Liverpool in midweek.

United sit just two points off the top four and have yet to lose any of Solskjaer’s nine games in charge in all competitions, with eight wins and that draw against Burnley the only blip. Given their defensive issues, having Pogba, Martial and Marcus Rashford settled down and in good form will be key if they’re going to finish in the top four this season.