Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes Anthony Martial became too predictable and was too inconsistent over the course of the last few seasons.
The Frenchman looks set to seal a loan move to Spanish giants Sevilla until the end of the season, after a Premier League campaign spent on the bench.
Martial perilously tumbled down the United pecking order under both Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick, becoming stuck behind Mason Greenwood, Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani, and most recently, Anthony Elanga.
His eight minute cameo in United’s 1-0 victory over West Ham United was his first piece of Premier League action under Rangnick, and his first United appearance since their 3-2 home victory against Arsenal on December 2.
And Ferdinand believes Martial’s lack of variation and his inconsistency were behind his downfall at Old Trafford.
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“When Martial gets the ball to feet he’s a threat to any defender, you can tell, you can see defenders are on edge when he gets the ball. When he runs at you he’s phenomenal,” Ferdinand said on his Vibe with Five podcast.
“I just feel with Anthony Martial he didn’t move enough of the ball, he didn’t make runs in behind.
“But he’s quick! Sometimes you’ve got to vary the way you attack opponents and you can’t always want the ball to feet.
“I just feel he probably didn’t hurt defenders in behind as much as he could have, and he didn’t threaten in behind like he should have.”
“You look at Sadio Mane, Marcus Rashford sometimes when he plays off that left-hand side, Raheem Sterling, they don’t only just come to feet because for a defender it becomes a lot easier to read.
“You have to vary the point of attack and I don’t think he did that enough.”
Martial arrived at Old Trafford from Monaco in a deal worth £36million in 2019, when he was still considered as a raw, up and coming prospect.
He hit the ground running with a mesmerising debut goal against Liverpool, which saw him beat multiple players and thread a perfect finish into the far corner.
While his accumulation of 79 goals and 51 appearances in 270 United appearances is not bad, Martial has only scored five Premier League goals in his last two seasons at the club.
And Ferdinand also believes this inconsistency was also behind is recent struggles at United.
“You see things levied at him that he didn’t smile or he was moody etcetera, but I just feel if you look more at his football and the way he played his football: inconsistencies.
“When you’re going to build a winning team you can’t have people that are inconsistent in your team.’
‘It’s about output and doing it on a consistent basis and I think there might be some sort of mentality shift that he needs, maturity maybe.
“But something has got to click from within for him to go on now and really fulfil that potential that he has, because I think he’s a fabulous footballer on his day but there haven’t been enough of those days.”