Cleat Geeks

Martial,Rooney and Great Expectations

There was a lot of expectation when United played away at Southampton this month. Most of which centered around the role and general sharpness of Wayne Rooney. Would he play, if so, which position and would he find the form that has deserted him over the last few weeks? Its fair to say at the end of the match the questions had not been answered fully, but their importance seemed to have diminished somewhat.rooney_7_1024x768

There were new questions to be answered, about a certain Frenchman who seemed to be the personification of cool, not Cantona but Martial. It seems ridiculous that a fairly unknown, 19 year old acquired for an astronomical fee on the last day of the transfer market could have been thrown into the lions den, and like Daniel, survive the test. And not only survived but now be seen as an internal part of the United team.

This is the stuff of fairy tales, of legends or later day heroes and it’s happening in a Manchester United team that for the past couple of years have needed a touch of magic dust.

When Martial was announced to the United faithful, sitting on the substitues bench against Liverpool last week, the most noticeable thing about him was the way he looked around Old Trafford, like a kid in a candy store.

Who could blame him for that, after signing for United Martial had played his first two games for the French national team, albeit coming on as a substitute in both matches.

Then on arriving finally at United Martial had only a day or so to get to know his surrounding before the Liverpool match. When he came onto the field, again as a substitute, it is fair to say that most United watchers might have hoped they would see a solid few minutes on which to build for the future.

Manchester-United-vs-LiverpoolWhat they saw, and the watching football world with them, was a a slice of pure, unadulterated theatre in the aptly named Theatre of Dreams. Giving the United forward line power, pace and an eye for goal, he sent Old Trafford into hysterics and created a sonic boom which could have rivalled Concorde.

The ongoing speculation was that Martial’s goal against a tiring Liverpool defence could have been a blip, a fortunate one, but still a blip. That when another test came along, at the upcoming Southampton match for example, he and all United followers would be brought down to earth.

The Southampton test came and this time Martial enjoyed full time on the pitch and in taking his two goals cleanly and clearly there was evidence that United have found a player who seems the real deal.

Van Gaal had warned that young players are inconsistent and take time to develop, and that might be the case with Martial. However there is no doubting his talent, just as there was no doubting a young Rooney’s talent all those years ago.

It seems inconsistency does not only apply to the young, as the questions surrounding Rooney’s place in the team at Southampton confirmed. United fans still wait for the Rooney they love, the Rooney they have witnessed over the years.liverpool-manchester-united-anthony-martial_3350190

With a further goal against Ipswich in the Capital Cup to his name Martial is proving his initial doubters wrong, and headlines like “what a waste of money” are as hollow as the papers they were written in.

In season 1972 Ian Storey-Moore scored a goal in each of his first three United appearances, a record that until now has stood the test of time. If he is picked in the team against Sunderland today and should he score, Martial will equal Storey-Moore’s record.

However should that not be the case you suspect that it will not be a problem for the player who has already defied the prediction of pundit Ray Parlour who was happy to tell the world that Martial would ‘struggle in the Premier League’.

There is a cliche in football that if your good enough your old enough, it certainly applied to Rooney, the United faithful hope, with some justification, the same applies to Anthony Martial.


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