Manchester United fans were heavily critical of Anthony Martial following Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Newcastle.
Despite the win, supporters were bitterly disappointed by Martial’s contribution. The Frenchman, who has been inconsistent this season, was subbed off for Mason Greenwood with 20 minutes remaining.
Martial has only managed to score four goals in 20 league appearances this term, and Premier League legend Alan Shearer produced some scathing analysis of Man Utd’s No. 9 on Match of the Day 2.
Shearer showed various clips where Martial, for whatever reason, wasn’t getting himself inside the box.
He questioned the France international’s hunger and desire to score goals and, like many fans, feels Martial should be making a much bigger contribution during matches.
“Only four league goals this season, not enough movement - he’s certainly not desperate enough to score goals,” Shearer began.
“When you look at his positioning here, he spends far too much time in these positions here when they need someone in the box in that area. Not once does he look to get anywhere near that box where he’s going to score goals.”
Shearer continued: “This one here, a good position, the ball goes out wide and [with Martial it’s] jog, jog, jog. Not once, until the goalkeeper actually gets hold of the ball, then he sprints. He should be getting into that area, trying to get across the front post in between the two centre-halves. All of a sudden when the ‘keeper gets the ball in his hands, he sprints!”
You can watch that clip here...
In another example, Shearer said: “Have a look at this. Nobody in the box. Yes, that’s him, out on that left-hand side. He’s spending too much time out there. There’s no focal point, no-one in there to hold the ball up.”
The former Newcastle star then added: “It’s the same thing again here. You’ve got four or five players in that area. He should realise: get out of there and into the box. I don’t think it means enough to him to put that ball into the back of the net.
“He’s only ever scored more than 20 goals in a season - and that’s not all league goals.
“When you consider Man Utd are top scorers in the Premier League this season with 53, and he’s got four… I don’t think that’s anywhere near enough.”
"Apparently he’s the one that says he wants to play centre-forward and that he deserves to be in there. Well, his numbers have to be a lot better if he wants to play in that position.”
Shearer also dismissed suggestions that Martial’s failure to get himself inside the box is due to a lack of experience playing as a centre-forward.
“You can’t say it’s a lack of experience,” the Premier League’s all-time leading goalscorer added. “He’s 25 years of age now, this is his sixth season at Manchester United, so I wouldn’t say lack of experience is a problem at all. I would say it’s his lack of hunger and desire to get in there and constantly score the goals.
“He had a good season in terms of numbers last season but you’ve got to do that on a regular basis, particularly when Man Utd are scoring as many as they are.”
Following Martial’s disappointing performance on Sunday, plenty of United fans will surely be in complete agreement with Shearer’s analysis.
Martial is a fantastic player but there have always been question marks over his attitude, work rate and desire.
Can the £250,000-a-week star prove his doubters wrong between now and the end of the season? Solskjaer will certainly be hoping so.