Jose wants Martial to knuckle down

LONDON • Jose Mourinho wants Anthony Martial to put a difficult summer behind him and fulfil his potential after scoring his first goal of the season.

The Manchester United forward ended a barren eight-match run last Sunday when he put his side ahead in their 1-1 draw with Stoke City.

The France international enjoyed an outstanding debut season at United after his £36 million (S$62.8 million) move from Monaco, scoring 17 goals.

But, according to The Times, Mourinho and his coaching staff aired concerns about Martial's focus and determination shortly after the player returned to pre-season training at the end of July. It is understood that the coaches informed the manager that they felt Martial was unable to concentrate in training because of issues that had dogged his private life over the summer.

Martial, 20, split with his childhood sweetheart, Samantha Helena, in April after she accused the forward of having an affair. The two have a baby daughter called Peyton.

The split is thought to have affected Martial and there were concerns at United's Carrington training ground that he was not able to focus. Mourinho's staff also had concerns about the player's maturity.

They are convinced, however, that he has the ability to become one of the top players in Europe, provided he applies himself properly.

Mourinho is also now optimistic that the player's form will again consistently reach the heights of last year.

Once Martial scores a 25th competitive goal for the club, United are expected to pay Monaco a further £8.8 million under the agreement of his transfer last summer.

The Frenchman cost an initial £36 million in a fee that could rise as high as £58 million.

After being on the bench for United's past four matches, Martial is pushing for a start in United's next game, against Liverpool at Anfield on Oct 17.

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2016, with the headline 'Jose wants Martial to knuckle down'. Print Edition | Subscribe