Anthony Martial has the talent to reach Cristiano Ronaldo’s level if he puts his mind to it, according to Manchester United caretaker boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The 23-year-old has impressed in fits and starts since moving from Monaco to Old Trafford in 2015, becoming the most expensive teenager in history in the process.
Martial had looked set to leave in the summer after falling out with Jose Mourinho, only to fight his way back into the Portuguese’s plans and last month sign a deal until at least 2024 under Solskjaer.
— Anthony Martial (@AnthonyMartial) February 9, 2019
The France international marked his first start since that contract with an assist and a superb second in the 3-0 win against Fulham, where his fine solo goal led ex-United captain Gary Neville to compare it to a Ronaldo effort at Craven Cottage in 2007.
“Yes, it was towards the end of the game and we played a very poor game and Cristiano scored it,” Solskjaer said of his former team-mate’s goal.
“He does have similarities, of course.
“If he wants to be at Cristiano’s level, Anthony knows what he has to do. It’s up to him. He has the talent.”
Getting anywhere near those heights would be remarkable for a player that Mourinho was keen to sell in the summer.
Had the former United boss got his way, there is a chance Martial may have been lining up for Paris St Germain rather than United in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg.
“I am glad he is in my team,” Solskjaer said. “He has contributed to so many chances, so many goals. He is a Manchester United player. He excites the crowd. He excites the manager. He excites his team-mates. And he is a great character around the place.”
Tuesday’s first leg kicks off a big few weeks for United, whose hopes of progressing past PSG and reaching the quarter-finals have been bolstered by Neymar’s absence.
“When you play against the best teams, you want to play against the players,” Solskjaer said. “The crowd want to see the best players. Too bad for Old Trafford.
“I have played a couple of games when we played Real Madrid and Ronaldo and (Luis) Figo and all those were coming to Old Trafford. That gives it an extra edge.
“Unfortunately for Neymar he is injured, but of course he is a quality player. I think our right-back thinks it is not too bad he will not be here.”