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Jose Mourinho with another verbal jab at Anthony Martial

SoccerBy Sunday World
Martial has been a bit-part player for Man United this season
Martial has been a bit-part player for Man United this season

Jose Mourinho appears to have questioned Anthony Martial’s abilities to be a Manchester United player, in the latest verbal jab directed at the France striker.

United boss Mourinho has been outspoken in his criticism of Martial during his first year as the club’s manager, with the 21-year-old forward starting just 12 Premier League games so far this season.

The United boss has questioned the contribution of his forward players and suggested some of them are guilty of drifting out of games too often, with Mourinho rarely offering compliments to balance off his criticism of Martial.

The forward was left out of the United team for last Sunday’s Premier League clash against Chelsea, with his fellow young striker Marcus Rashford turning in a sparkling performance in his absence.

Now Mourinho has compared the contributions of Rashford and Martial, as he hinting the rising star United paid £36m to sign from Monaco the 2015 summer transfer window needs to show more desire if he is to get back into his plans.

“Since September, Rashford has not scored in the Premier League, but he was always a player I chose,” stated Mourinho.

“He was always player I support because he was always coming in my direction and giving me what I want as a Manchester United player, so it is about that. Anthony has to give me things that I like.

“Do I think Anthony is a player with great potential? Yes. Do I think he can play successfully for me? Yes. But he needs to give me things that I like very much.

“I have to go in the direction of the players, but they also have to go in my direction.”

Martial’s attitude has been questioned over the last year, with Mourinho reluctant to hand him a chance to start in his preferred central striking position as he continues to play him in a wide role.

Martial is not expected to return to the United team for the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final against Anderlecht at Old Trafford on Thursday, with Rashford expected to be joined in the team by a returning Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Mourinho has also confirmed that skipper Wayne Rooney may be fit to return to the bench, which may push Martial even further down his first team pecking order.

These comments are certain to intensify speculation that Martial could be a high profile casualty of a shake-up in Mourinho’s squad this summer.