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Anthony Martial earned his rightful ranking and became the darling of Old Trafford when he scored on his debut against Liverpool in September of 2015.
The then 19-year old came off the bench to score the final goal in a 3-1 rout over United’s oldest enemy, but it was the significance of the goal that would set precedent for life at Old Trafford.
The France international has gone on to score 31 goals in 106 appearances for United; 17 of which came on his maiden season at the club.
Martial has been in among the goals, and rightly saw given his sure footedness and ambidextrous style of play, but it is his impact in a starting role that is a cause for rapid concern.
More impact from the bench
Anthony Martial is a calibrated genius but much has been made of the fact that he mostly scores from off the bench. In fact, four of his six goals in all competitions this season have come as a substitute.
On several occasions the winger has failed to enter the fray when in the starting xi, but has often proved cogent whenever United need some sting in their attack.
The best chance to prove himself as a starter came midway through October during United’s visit to Anfield, but the 21-year old had a diminished role, offering little going forward.
Jose Mourinho’s compact defensive approach to the game was highly attributed to his underwhelming performance, but Martial’s ineffectiveness during the 2-1 defeat to Huddersfield was inexcusable.
He again lived up to the tag in the Champions League when he had his penalty parried away by Benfica shot stopper Mile Svilar. As it were, Martial works best from off the bench.
Embrace the role
Manchester United have a plethora of attacking qualities so much that Jose Mourinho is spoilt for choice on who to select in the starting lineup.
One such case is the position on the left attacking wing where competition is rife between Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial.
Seeing as playing both of them at the same time has the implication of too many cooks spoiling the broth, Jose Mourinho could have the simple alternative of permanently starting Martial on the bench.
Rashford is quick, powerful and impeccable at timing his runs, but Martial seems to steadily pick up a head of steam by sitting in the dugout.
There is no shame in being a super sub as the likes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Javier Hernandez have previously embraced the role at Manchester United, as should Martial.
Written by Brian Humphrey
Follow Brian on Twitter @brihum
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