Martial fires warning to Premier League defences
Manchester United forward Anthony Martial believes he will be back to his best as soon as he rediscovers peak fitness.
The France international was forced to miss the climax of last season and Euro 2020 due to a knee injury sustained while on international duty. However, he is back in the fold and started the friendly win over Everton at the weekend as he presses his claims for a spot in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's XI for the Premier League opener against Leeds United on Saturday.
As he feels his 2020/21 campaign was hampered by niggling fitness problems, the 25-year-old is hoping his extensive work in preparation for this term will allow him to perform at his explosive best in order to trouble Premier League and Champions League defences.
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"I am feeling a lot better after five long months," he told us. "Getting back together with the team and training with them again, I really feel a great improvement. I am going to need a few more weeks to reach my top fitness levels, and I'm really happy just now to have made my return to training.
“To be honest, I was really happy to start [against Everton] after those long months without playing, it was tremendous to get back out there, especially with the fans and the win, brilliant.
"With the season I had last year, and the niggling injuries I had which prevented me from being at 100 per cent, I've since put in my best prep work, so as to be sure of coming back in the best form I can," he added. "And I hope I can get to my full fitness level as quickly as possible now, to set me up for a great season this time round.
“I hope to avoid injury, of course, and to be really ready and in top shape fitness-wise, to be able to have a great season, and win some trophies.”
The talented attacker is out to regain the form that earned him 17 league goals in 32 appearances in 2019/20, starting with the much-anticipated encounter with rivals Leeds in Saturday's 12:30 BST kick-off.
It is important for United to begin in positive fashion, after failing to do so last time around, and confidence will be high following the 4-0 warm-up victory over Everton.
"It is going to be a big game, as we are all aware of the intense rivalry between these two great clubs," he said. "And it is up to us to make a good start to the season and to do so by winning this first match.
“We know them as a team who never stop running, and who usually tend to man mark one-on-one. It will be down to us to match them physically and get close, and to find the space to be able to hit them with our counter-attacks."