Erik ten Hag suggests Anthony Martial to get fit before thinking of the future
Since the World Cup, the former Monaco player has played six games before getting injured following the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Nottingham Forest.
Here’s what ten Hag said when asked about the future of Martial (h/t Manchester Evening News):
“I don’t think it is the right moment to be the case [talking about future]. I believe in him, every time he is available he really contributes to the team performance, the level of the team is upgrading when he is available. We are working with him to get fit and be available.”
Martial is clearly a talented player who has a frustrating fitness record. As a manager, you cannot plan a whole season around him playing the majority of the games. What it does is reduce trust in the player in due course of time.
Ten Hag confirmed that the Frenchman will miss the FA Cup quarter-final tie against Fulham. With the international break coming up after this game, it would be an opportunity for the 27-year-old. He did return to training but is not fit enough.
After the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in November, the onus would have been on Martial to take over the number nine role and score the goals required to do well this season.
The forward has failed to take that chance, while Marcus Rashford has grabbed it with both hands. The latter has played a few games with niggles too. So, the determination is there from his side to make the most of the chances he is getting.
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The Fulham tie is an important game for ten Hag’s men not just because it is an opportunity to book a Wembley trip for the semi-final, but also to keep the momentum alive for when the players come back from the international break in April.