'Martial must model himself on Ronaldo' – Solskjaer challenges Man Utd forward to match club legend

The Frenchman penned a new five-year contract on Thursday to keep him at the club until 2024, and the Red Devils’ interim boss has high hopes

Anthony Martial can mirror Cristiano Ronaldo’s impact at Manchester United after signing a new contract, according to interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

The France international penned a fresh five-year extension on Thursday , keeping him at the club until 2024, having previously turned down fresh terms.

En route to becoming one of the best players of his generation, Ronaldo spent six fruitful campaigns at Old Trafford, winning nine major honours and scooping the Ballon d’Or in 2008, prior to joining Real Madrid.

Solskjaer played alongside the Portugal international for much of his spell at United and feels Martial can replicate the success enjoyed by the now Juventus forward.

“Cristiano was the best, the way he’s changed to now,” Solskjaer told the media. ‘”That’s up to any player if you make a decision on how to develop your own career. 

“You’ve got to model yourself on someone and you’ve got to have more challenges ahead.

“I spoke (to him) about my experience at this club what he can achieve. You talk about Cristiano’s career, what he’s made, how he’s got there and all the fantastic players we’ve got. 

“Anthony wants to be a part of this, and the club have got a top player there.

“I know how much this club can give to your career and I think by being honest with him it’s the best place to be. I made my career and it was easy to sell the club to Anthony, but he knows what we’re capable of.

“He’s a fantastic finisher with great ability. He’s young, he’s intelligent, he knows his football. I’d like him to do a couple more runs in behind, but I’ve not seen many players with the quick feet and the skills in the last third as he has. 

“So we’re going to build his career and hopefully he’ll grab the chance with both feet.”

Since joining United from Monaco in 2015 for an initial £36 million ($47m) Martial has netted 46 goals in 161 outings for the club.

Mostly deployed in a wide role, Solskjaer has revealed the 23-year-old wants to play centrally – a position currently occupied by Marcus Rashford.

The England hitman has scored four times since Jose Mourinho was replaced by the caretaker boss, including the winning goal in the impressive win at Tottenham.

Solskjaer feels both players should be finding the net on a regular basis regardless of their position.

“He [Martial] has the capability,” he added. ‘I’d like him to make a few more runs in behind because he doesn’t miss chances, he’s a fantastic finisher. He doesn’t miss chances but he needs to get more chances. 

“You’ve got to sniff some scruffy goals at times. He and Marcus score loads of worldies but those tap-ins that I used to score make all the difference.

“Anthony’s preferred position would probably be number nine. Most of them want to play through the middle. We want them to rotate, interchange, you’ve got to get into the box to score.

“They can have healthy competition but they can also create a relationship and get an understanding of each other because both are very good coming in off the left. When they play central they go in and out so in the coming years we’ll see loads of combinations.”

Eight players remain out-of-contract at the end of the 2018-19 season including goalkeeper David de Gea, Juan Mata and Ashley Young.

Though not involved in negotiations, the Norwegian hopes Martial’s display of commitment will show others the way.

“It’s a confirmation that we are happy with him and we believe in him he’s got fantastic potential,” the scorer of the 1999 Champions final winner explained.

“He’s had ups and downs. He’s been top scorer but he’s been developing. As a young lad moving abroad it’s not easy, but he knows he’s going to stay here for the coming future and I believe in him.

“The club is working on a few players. I don’t know how far (it has got) but it’s a statement from the club we want to keep our best players. I hope so.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *