By Mark Weasley
The story of this season so far at Old Trafford has been the brilliance of summer signing, Romelu Lukaku, the resurgence of Phil Jones, the discipline of the defence and the attacking threat United pose going forward. For all the criticism labelled at Jose Mourinho and Manchester United last season, this season, our players are playing out of their skin, none less than Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford. Both men have taken their pre-season form to the season, and it is now seen as a conundrum as to who Jose will start heading into any match.
When Anthony Martial burst onto the scene in what was Louis Van Gaal’s last season as United boss, he was exceptional until a certain Marcus Rashford also lit up with two goals against Midjtylland and also Arsenal.
Last campaign though, Martial struggled with the pressure of playing for Jose Mourinho who demands exceptionally high standards of his wide men who have to be threatening going forward but must also put in a decent masterclass off the ball. The early part of the season saw Rashford starting and Martial scoring the goals from the bench, but when Martial started, Rashford came off the bench to inspire victory over Leicester.
A manager like Mourinho knows that with both men in form, competition for places will make the pair become even better players. Juan Mata is now a Mourinho favourite, playing on the right side of the attacking midfield while in the hole behind Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is king. On the left is where the war is: Rashford/Martial. Capable of playing as strikers, it is almost impossible now given the form and confidence of Romelu Lukaku, both men know that ahead of a World Cup year, they must raise their game or risk not going to the mundial in Russia.
Martial seems to have overcome the personal problems that affected him so much last season while Rashford is finally adding maturity and excellent decision making to his undisputed ability. It is inevitable that at some point, Jose will have to find a way to play both if they continue to impress, meaning that the competition for places will he high. United and Jose Mourinho are on a mission this season to reclaim the Premier League title after five years and in Martial and Rashford they have the present and the future.
Frenchman, Martial is still just 21 while Rashford is not even 20 and are already tearing up the league with their devastating finishing, composure and creativity. Competition will make them better and no manager than Jose knows how to channel performances to team glory.