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29th Oct 2018

Gary Neville explains exactly why Jose Mourinho wasn’t sure about Anthony Martial

Robert Redmond

“No player has confused me as much as him.”

Gary Neville has been speaking about Anthony Martial’s improved performances for Manchester United.

The Sky Sports pundit also highlighted how the French forward can take his game to another level. And pinpointed why his manager has had his doubts about the player.

If Jose Mourinho had his way, Martial could be playing for another club now.

The United manager was reportedly prepared to let the forward leave Old Trafford during the summer.

And Martial was said to be exploring his options after appearing to fall out with his manager.

The arrival of Alexis Sanchez in January pushed Martial further down the pecking order. However, the Chilean has flopped at Old Trafford so far. Martial returned to the team and has been in excellent form lately.

The 22-year-old scored in the comeback victory over Newcastle United earlier this month. He then scored twice against Chelsea and was excellent once again against Everton on Sunday.

He won the penalty that led to Paul Pogba opening the scoring. Martial then scored a brilliant goal after half-time, whipping a powerful effort past Jordan Pickford from the edge of the box.

According to Neville, Martial leaves him feeling “confused” as his performance levels tend to fluctuate from excellent to average.

The former United defender said that Martial needs to improve the timing of his runs and to make more runs between the full-back and the central defender.

If he does that, Neville said that the French forward could easily boost his goal tally because he is such a strong finisher.

Neville and Jamie Carragher then compared Martial to other wide-forwards in the Premier League and explained how he can improve his game.

According to the Sky Sports pundits, Martial does not work as hard as other wide-forwards when he is out of possession.

For goals and assists, he has a comparable record to Sadio Mane or Willian, two of the highest-rated players in their positions in the Premier League.

However, he is covering less distance than others in his position.

You can watch Carragher and Neville here:

In the second half against Everton, Seamus Coleman had a chance in United’s penalty area. But he was put off by Martial, who had tracked back to put pressure on the Irish full-back.

So, perhaps he is learning and is prepared to increase his work rate on the pitch. He earned praise from Mourinho following the game, who may be warming to a player he has previously viewed as expendable.

“He has the same talent, the same natural talent he had one year ago, but he’s improving his way of thinking football, thinking training too, and thinking his role in the team,” the United manager said.

“So I’m really, really happy with him, with Luke Shaw, with boys who are improving, and difficult periods for them, difficult periods for myself because I want more for them and I took them to the limit, but at the moment Anthony is able to do things that he was not able to do before. So I’m really happy with Anthony.”