Anthony Martial has endured two contrasting seasons at Manchester United, under both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
The Frenchman arrived from AS Monaco in September 2015 as the most expensive teenager in world football – joining for an initial £36 million rising £58 million with add-ons – scoring 17 goals in his debut campaign.
And when the forward arrived at Old Trafford as a 19-year-old, netting on his debut against rivals Liverpool in a 3-1 Premier League win, he became an instant hit with Red Devils fans.
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However, since Mourinho’s arrival last summer, Martial was reduced to a bit-part role under the Portuguese earlier in the campaign and led to questions about the France international’s future in only his second season in the Premier League.
A loan switch to La Liga outfit Sevilla was mooted in January, but a move never materialised and the French youngster was left to realise that he would have to battle for his starting place alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marcus Rashford and Wayne Rooney for the remainder of the season.
Things have once again began to look for positive for Martial, although his first goal of the campaign didn’t come until October in a 1-1 draw with Stoke and hasn’t scored since a 2-0 win over Watford in February.
But with the 21-year-old having since made 11 starts from his 16 Premier League appearances for United this campaign, it now seems highly unlikely that reports of a permanent move away from the English giants in the summer will surface.
Martial lauds ‘outstanding’ fans
And Martial told Inside United, via Goal, that the club’s fans are a significant factor as to why he is “really keen to stay” at Old Trafford, despite Ibrahimovic, and the potential summer arrival of Antoine Griezmann, potentially hindering his opportunities.
“For me, what’s really special here is the supporters. They’ve been really outstanding with me,” said Martial.
“I think that’s what goes a long way to making me feel at home and at ease, and makes me really keen to stay here at the club.”
Mourinho has a tough task on his hands to keep all of his players content, but while Martial has made it clear he is happy at United, the former Chelsea boss must remember the experience the young France international has already acquired during his time in Ligue 1.
Martial made a name for himself with both Lyon and Monaco before catching United’s eye, but the Red Devils forward believes the club’s continued support will benefit him in the long-term after revealing the contrasting cultures between fans in England and France.
“In France, even if you’re one of the best players around, they might begin to boo and jeer you if you go a couple of games without scoring,” Martial added.
“But here it’s just the opposite, they’ll try to cheer you on so you might be able to score, and so then you grow in confidence.
“I think it’s just a different mentality. That’s why I like the fans here so much.”
His goal tally for the season has remained at seven since the early part of last month, and having racked up 29 appearances in all competitions under Mourinho this season, he will be desperate to get that tally nearer the mark he set during his debut campaign last season.
The continued backing of United’s supporters will certainly help the young France star to re-find his best goalscoring form that will help him to be held in even higher regard with Mourinho, who is most likely to bolster his attacking options in the summer.