‘Man Utd still need a No 9 despite Martial hat-trick’ – Owen believes Frenchman is better out wide


Anthony Martial is benefitting from “now being the right time to be playing as a centre-forward for Manchester United”, says Michael Owen, with the Red Devils considered to still be in need of a “main No.9”.

A France international staked another claim to landing that role on a long-term basis in his most recent outing, with a first senior hat-trick recorded in a 3-0 victory over Sheffield United.

Martial, who has often been used as a wide attacker during his time at Old Trafford, has made no secret of the fact that he sees himself as a central striker.

Scroll to continue with content

Questions have, however, been asked of his ability to be a consistent source of end product in that role despite a new personal best goal return being set in 2019-20.

Owen is among those who feel that a more natural finisher would be better suited to the role, with United having worked hard to assemble a supporting cast that now boasts some of the Premier League’s most exciting creative influences.

The former Red Devils striker told Premier League Productions on the back of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side easing to a Martial-inspired win over the Blades: “We’re judging a team that has been below-par for a long time. Now, all of a sudden, they have got a lot of good players.

“[Marcus] Rashford missed a chance in the first half and if he had put it in, it would have been one of the goals of the season. The intricate play on the edge of the box was absolutely brilliant.

“So now I think he’s [Martial] going to get more service, and now is the right time to be playing as a centre-forward for Manchester United – with the likes of [Paul] Pogba and [Bruno] Fernandes and all these players in and around you.

“Is he one that’s going to be the No.9 for years to come? At the minute he looks very inconsistent. He will score a hat-trick, but is he going to constantly score a lot of goals? There is still a question mark.

“There is still a question about what is his best position. I think it’s probably off the left, but then again that’s probably Marcus Rashford’s best position.

“They are shuffling the pack a little bit at the moment but if you ask most people, they will say: ‘Where do Manchester United need to strengthen? They need a main No.9’.”

Martial has taken his tally for the current campaign to 19, with United hoping to see those standards maintained as they continue to chase down a top-four finish in the Premier League along with major silverware in FA Cup and Europa League.

What to read next