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Cast away

Anthony Martial’s season is ending in the worst way possible

Man United's No11 has been left out of Didier Deschamps' France squad to play England

It all started with a number.

When Zlatan Ibrahimovic arrived at Man United he demanded he be given the No9 shirt which meant stripping it off Anthony Martial.

In a way that was a sign of how the Frenchman’s season would play out.

Having been restricted to cameo performances for long spells of the season, Martial has now lost his place in France’s squad.

Manchester United's Anthony Martial has been axed by France national team boss Didier Deschamps

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The 21-year-old has not been called up into Les Bleus squad for the forthcoming matches against Paraguay, Sweden and England.

Martial has been accused of suffering a confidence crisis by Didier Deschamps.

The France boss said: “Even though Anthony is playing a little bit more since Zlatan’s injury, he has a limited amount of playing time. He’s been doing some good things but he’s not as decisive as he was before.

“The two things are linked. Perhaps he’s lost a bit of confidence, a bit of rhythm. He has the quality, the potential, as Anthony showed last season.

“But it’s normal to have a dip – he had a very packed season last year.

French boss Didier Deschamps has not picked Benzema since the scandal emerged

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“There’s been a change of coach, maybe a different system as well. You know it can happen to more experienced players, but for young players, it happens practically all the time.

“There has been a little bit of a dip, a lack of confidence. It can take a bit of time.”

United boss Jose Mourinho has yet to be completely convinced by Martial who joined from Monaco for £38million two years ago.

Anthony Martial was another one who needed a public barrage to bring the best out of him

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Deschamps added: “If you’re playing less, when you do play then you have to be decisive, you’re not allowed to make any mistakes. It’s a difficult climate for any player, whether he’s 20 or 30.

“If he’s playing and he’s full of confidence, he won’t have the same impact as if he’s lacking a bit of confidence. They might have choices to make.”

United fans will be hoping Martial rediscovers his confidence over the summer with the club expected to strengthen the squad significantly once the transfer window opens.