While he hasn’t been terrible this season, Anthony Martial’s form for Manchester United has been a far cry from the explosive winger most discovered in the Premier League under Louis Van Gaal, leading him to be left out by Didier Deschamps for his latest France squad.
The player was a key player under the Dutchman, and was pretty much ever present, making over 60 appearances for both Monaco and Manchester United.
Over the summer, some personal drama appeared in the media, relating to his break up with his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child Samantha, even forcing his brother to release a statement to try and explain the situation.
In an attempt to calm the furore surrounding his client, the player’s agent, Philippe Lamboley, has given a long interview to RMC Sport on Friday evening, and he’s touched on pretty much everything.
Explaining the reason for Martial’s poor form as ‘fairly simple’, Lamboley blames the player’s lack of downtime over the summer, instead of what the media were trying to focus on instead: the off the pitch drama.
Claiming the break-up with Samantha ‘has had no impact on his football whatsoever’, the agent then turned to the controversial decision from Manchester United to give his number 9 shirt to Zlatan Ibrahimovic over summer.
He said: “I’m not going to lie to you. Yes, it got to him. Yes, it surprised him. Yes, he was disappointed… for two days. But he’s professional. He knew how to get back into things straight away.
“Personally, I find that decision out of order and disrespectful to my player. I told Manchester United’s board that. You just don’t do it. So we accepted it, we turned the page, but we didn’t rip it up.”
Clarifying the relationship between José Mourinho and Anthony Martial is ‘very professional’, Lamboley was ‘certain’ the Portuguese manager would be able to get the best out of Anthony, like Van Gaal did previously.
Moving onto where Martial plays on the pitch, he stated there was no problem with the decision to play him out wide instead of through the middle.
He said: “He’s happy there. He’s 20. These days, no big European club plays with a 20-year-old striker. The big strikers started out wide. For him, the main thing is to play.
“He doesn’t ask for anything either. Just to play, to take pleasure in football. He’s gaining experience, but I’m sure he’ll return to playing through the middle in a few years.”
As for his happiness at Manchester United: “He’s very happy there. They’re trying to make him look sad because he doesn’t always smile. It’s part of his personality. The people who know him well know that he’s an adorable and welcoming boy. He loves the fans, who welcomed him so well.
“He only has one desire, and that’s to have a great season and win titles with United. Let him work, let this young 20-year-old be happy and take pleasure in his work. What he’s achieved up until now is incredible. He’s only started his career, and I can promise you the best is yet to come.”
That should clarify a few worries for Manchester United fans, then.