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MISSING IN ACTION

Anthony Martial’s anonymity proves Jose Mourinho had a point after all

Martial FC have gone very, very quiet

It wasn’t too long ago that Anthony Martial was being compared with the likes of Sadio Mane and Raheem Sterling.

Like many Man United players, the Frenchman was liberated once the doom and gloom of the Jose Mourinho era was lifted.

Mourinho and Martial never really saw eye to eye, with the latter responding badly to the Special One’s cold shoulder treatment.

Missing in action

Reuters
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Missing in action

But Jose’s doubts about Martial are starting to ring true again.

The 23-year-old’s recent form has been dismal, scoring just once in eight games and turning in some insipid displays.

His talent is undeniable but his application lets him down time and time again.

Just one goal in his last eight

AFP or licensors
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Just one goal in his last eight

Too often his head drops, his body language speaking a thousand words when things aren’t going his way.

Mourinho recognised this straight away, preferring the less gifted but more diligent Jesse Lingard when it really mattered.

Ultimately hard work trumps talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

Trouble in paradise

Reuters
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Trouble in paradise

And Martial’s recent malaise hit a new low in the truly humiliating 4-0 drubbing at Everton on Sunday.

Registering the same number of touches in the first half as Jordan Pickford, he was also bullied off the ball in the build up to the Toffees’ second goal.

It didn’t get much better in the second half, with Martial lazy in possession and even throwing in a pitiful dive for good measure.

The cold, hard truth is Martial has scored just twice since he signed a lucrative new deal at the end of January.

Mourinho lost faith in Martial and, while the new-manager bounce brought an initial boom, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will now be starting to question him too.

Luxury player

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Luxury player

‘Martial FC’ will defend him to the death, but if his form on the ball is patchy the very least he can do is make the effort off it.

At the moment he’s exactly the type of passenger and luxury player Mourinho couldn’t justify picking.