Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp has earmarked Anthony Martial as the man to replace Wayne Rooney as Manchester United’s leading man.
The French striker scored an injury-time winner against Everton on Saturday to fire the Red Devils into the FA Cup final, latching onto Ander Herrera’s pass and firing emphatically past Toffees goalkeeper Joel Robles.
It was Martial’s 14th goal in all competitions this season and alongside his seven assists, he is United’s leading contributor thus far.
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Such was the importance of the 20-year-old’s strike that Redknapp believes he is capable of succeeding captain Rooney as the club’s talisman.
He wrote in his Daily Mail column: “When I played Manchester United, it wasn't so much their attacking style which scared me. It was more their players who could always turn it on for the big moments like Ryan Giggs, Eric Cantona and Andy Cole.
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“In the last year or so United have lacked this type of player but after his FA Cup semi-final winner against Everton, there is no doubt they have a man for the big occasion in Anthony Martial.”
Redknapp highlighted Martial’s cool-headed approach as a key indicator that he can bear the burden of being United’s leading light.
“Despite being just 20 and making his first club appearance at Wembley, nothing fazed him and when the chance came in the last minute you just knew Martial would lap it up.
“He and Marcus Rashford are developing a really good relationship and I believe the Frenchman has what it takes to replace Wayne Rooney as the leading light in this team.”
Rooney’s influence upfront is visibly on the wane but following a superb performance in midfield at Wembley, many believe his future at Old Trafford might just lie in a deep-lying playmaker role.
The Englishman realises this and believes he can replicate the effect Paul Scholes had at the heart of United’s midfield, freeing up the striker role to Martial or Rashford.
He said, according to Sky Sports: "I've known for a few years. I have played there a few times throughout my career and I can play that position.
"I have played and watched Paul Scholes play that role for years and I always knew that one day that is where I would play, so I have tried to learn and watch what he did.
United are finding form at just the right time amidst their bid to not only win the FA Cup, but also secure a place in next season’s Champions League.
They currently lie fifth and five points behind Manchester City and Arsenal - who occupy third and fourth respectively - with one game in hand.