As impressive as Anthony Martial’s start to life in England has been, Louis van Gaal has words of caution for Manchester United supporters.
Eyebrows were raised all across Europe when the Premier League giants paid an initial £36million for the 19-year-old on deadline day, a transfer which could earn Monaco as much as £58million depending on its success. And the early signs would suggest the Ligue 1 club are certain to receive more than the opening fee, with the striker making a sensational start to English football.
Martial came off the bench to make his debut last weekend, when he scored a fine goal to secure a 3-1 win against Liverpool at Old Trafford. Although he was unable to find the back of the net on his first start, in the 2-1 UEFA Champions League defeat at PSV Eindhoven last Tuesday, he was on target twice on Sunday afternoon as the Reds beat Southampton 3-2 at St Mary’s.
As the travelling fans sang his name, perhaps fittingly to the same tune they used to serenade Robin van Persie to, it appears as though the Stretford End may have a new hero to worship. But van Gaal has urged the supporters to show caution when it comes to the teenage forward, who he expects to suffer from dips in his form which is only natural for a player of his tender age.
“You cannot expect consistency from a player of 19 years of age,” said the Dutch coach. “Emotionally they shall have a lot of dips so I expect also from him but that is not a big problem. I’m very happy his talent is at a high level and he adapts to the system of how we want to play. Not every player can adapt in that system but he shows he wants to do that and he can do that.”
It was a good weekend for United, who moved up to second in the table and are now just two points adrift of leaders Manchester City who suffered a shock home defeat to West Ham United. It also provided a much-needed tonic following the loss in Holland, which will more than likely be remembered for the horrific double leg break which is expected to end Luke Shaw’s season.