Anthony Martial denies refusing to be included in Manchester United squad

Anthony Martial has hit back at Ralf Rangnick’s suggestion that the forward had refused to be part of Manchester United’s squad for Saturday’s trip to Aston Villa.

Rangnick, the interim Manchester United manager, named only eight substitutes for the match at Villa Park. After the game, which ended in a 2-2 draw, Rangnick claimed that Martial’s absence from the travelling party was the player’s choice.

“He [Martial] didn’t want to be in the squad,” Rangnick said. “He would have been in the squad normally. He didn’t want to be and that’s the reason why he wasn’t with us.” The United bench was a player short of the nine allowed, with goalkeepers Tom Heaton and Dean Henderson both included.

Martial refuted his manager’s claims in a post on his Instagram story on Saturday evening. “I will never refuse to play a match for Man United,” the French forward wrote. “I’ve been here for seven years and I never disrespected, and will never disrespect, the club and the fans.”

In December, Martial’s agent said the player was intent on leaving Manchester United in January in order to gain more game time. “Anthony wishes to leave the club in January,” Philippe Lamboley told Sky Sports News. “He just needs to play. He doesn’t want to stay in January and I will speak to the club soon.”

The 26-year-old has a contract until 2024 but has rarely featured this season, and has not started a game for United since the Champions League win over Villarreal in November. Rangnick has previously indicated he would consider allowing unsettled players to leave on loan in January, without naming Martial specifically.

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