By Dave Marshal
For much of this season, the expectant crowd at Old Trafford were on the lookout for the boy who scored a marvelous solo goal against Liverpool on his debut last season, but it seems the boy is nowhere to be found. However, on Wednesday, the boy finally showed forth and was welcomed back with open arms like the proverbial prodigal son. Still only 21, Anthony Martial has had a brilliant career till date, becoming the most expensive teenager of all time when United paid a staggering £36m for his services last summer. He netted 17 goals for Loius Van Gaal last term, and was particularly impressive in the run to FA Cup glory, after a brilliant last gasp goal against Everton in the semifinals.
This season, though, the France international has been a shadow of his former self. A culmination of personal troubles, fitness, form and confidence problems have all ensured that he has had an indifferent start to the season. Flashes of brilliance have remained, yet the end product from last season has been nowhere to be found. On Wednesday night, however, he put in his best performance of the season against West Ham. He constantly terrorized the Hammers’ defence, and his two goals simply marked an outstanding contribution.
Martial is a player who thrives on the confidence of his manager. Still only 21, this is understandable as he needs a pat on the back every now and then. After the game, the manager, Mourinho was effusive in his praise of the youngster, meaning the player can build on this performance and help The Old Trafford outfit achieve their aims for the season. On his day, he is unstoppable combining a lethal mix of power, pace, precision and finishing. He is a finsisher who has been compared with the legendary Thierry Henry, not unworthy though as there are similar characteristics between both men.
Manchester United have been inconsistent this season, but if Martial is fit and firing, they are just a step away from glory. The other players can step in and return the glory days back to The Theatre of Dreams.