Jose Mourinho insists he never gave up on Anthony Martial, whose sparkling form with Manchester United has earned a much-deserved recall to the France squad for the forthcoming international break.
The forward has scored five goals in our last six matches across all competitions, which led to him being voted our October Player of the Month by fans.
Martial has also earned the supporters’ Man-of-the-Match awards following each of our three previous Premier League games. He was even nominated for the same prize after the midweek win at Juventus, but his winning run was ended by goal-scoring team-mate Juan Mata.
Anthony hopes to contintue his excellent form in Sunday's Manchester derby at the Etihad Stadium and, afterwards, he will join up with Didier Deschamps' world champions for the upcoming Nations League match against the Netherlands, plus a friendly with Uruguay.
Speaking exclusively to our reporter Helen Evans on Friday morning, ahead of this weekend's highly-anticipated Manchester derby, Mourinho was full of praise for the way Martial has applied himself in recent weeks.
The manager also expressed a belief that his treatment of the flourishing no.11 has aided the player's progression in a United shirt.
“I never gave up,
“ Jose explained. ”I never gave up my feelings that this was the right way for him, even if he had to go through difficult moments.
“I knew that for him to become a really top player, he needed to overcome some barriers that I put on the road for him. It is up to his talent, because he has phenomenal talent.
“It was just a question of him understanding what a top player is because there is a big difference between a top talent and a top player.”
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BACK ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE
France manager Deschamps has challenged Martial to maintain his brilliant form for United with the national team.
“Anthony has been with the national team for a while now,” the former Juventus midfielder said at a press conference on Thursday.
“He's experienced both good and bad times, which is also the case for his club.What he's currently achieving with Manchester United is closer to what he's able to do regularly. I'm talking about commitment and efficiency in front of goal.
“He's a young player and I hope he is becoming more mature. He has proved that on the pitch by how important he's been for Manchester United for a few weeks already. It's obvious by Jose Mourinho's choice [to start Martial] and what he's doing on the pitch.”
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See who was pictured in Friday's training session, as preparations continue for City away.