Martial edging closer to United return
Erik ten Hag is hopeful that Manchester United forward Anthony Martial will play for the Reds again before the start of the World Cup.
Having only played 45 minutes against Liverpool before the start of this month, Martial began to work his way back to full fitness with cameo appearances as a substitute in our first two fixtures of October, against Manchester City and Omonia Nicosia. However, the forward then picked up a fresh problem in his first start of the campaign, away to Everton.
Martial has been highly impactful when on the pitch for Ten Hag, scoring three and assisting two goals in just over two hours of football, combined across his four outings this season.
"I hope [so]," said Ten Hag, during his pre-match press conference for Sunday’s Premier League game against West Ham.
"But he is making progress. He is outside and he is working there. So, he is on the pitch, and we are waiting for his step back into team training."
It appears that Sunday’s game against West Ham will come too soon for our no.9, but with the fixture being the first of five for United before the World Cup kicks off on 20 November, Martial should still have time to make an impact again before the mid-season pause.
While it remains to be seen if he will be selected in France’s squad for the winter tournament, Ten Hag knows how important Anthony can be for his team.
"He had a setback against Everton," acknowledged the manager.
“It was really frustrating for us and also for him. We have seen that he played good in pre-season. He has less minutes [than many other players], but he has scored already three goals.
"At Everton, he had also an important role with the first goal, his assist for Antony, so it would be really good to have him back because he can make a difference.
"He can score goals but also when linking up he's really important, and the pressing from him is really good."
United host West Ham on Sunday before travelling to Spain in midweek for next Thursday's Europa League group-stage finale against Real Sociedad.
Back-to-back matches against Aston Villa, in the Premier League and Carabao Cup third round, follow, before our final pre-World Cup outing away to Fulham on Sunday 13 November.