Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag

Anthony Martial has made a stunning return from an Achilles injury to net 3 goals in his last 2 games. However, some fans have argued that why the 26-year-old is not starting games despite returning from injury, as Erik ten Hag came forward wit an explanation. The striker came-off the bench in the Manchester Derby to bag a brace, and scored another goal against Omonia in the Europa League, once again playing an important role off the bench.

But Ten Hag has insisted that he is taking it step by step to induct Martial back in the fold. The Frenchman had suffered the Achilles knock during United’s win over Liverpool game earlier this season in the Premier League. He then sat out for 7 games and made a return against City to add a couple of consolation goals. Martial has shown some real signs of development from last season, and is aiming to lead United’s attack over Cristiano Ronaldo.

Erik ten Hag
Erik ten Hag explained benching Antony Martial against in the Europa League despite the striker’s positive display in the drubbing against Manchester City. Credits: Twitter

We want to do it really careful – Erik ten Hag on Martial returning to starting eleven

While he Martial was handed a good 31 minutes against City, he did enough to impress Erik ten Hag to put him back in the starting eleven against Omonia in the Europa League. However, Ronaldo took the center stage against the Cypriot side as Martial once again had to settle on the bench. Ten Hag finally brought on the former Monaco man as things were hanging at 1-1, who quickly scored just after the hour mark to give United the lead.

Ten Hag then explained his decision to bench the striker for a second consecutive game in his post-match presser. The Dutchman said:

“We want to do it really careful because he had a good pre-season. Good, fit, also good impact and last 10 minutes [of the pre-season friendly] against Atletico Madrid he fell out and then he returned against Liverpool [in the league], so another injury, that put him far back.

Erik ten Hag
Martial has found new life under Erik ten Hag, scoring 3 goals in 3 games under the new manager. Credits: Twitter

“I cannot force it. I have to do it with a plan, that is what we’re trying to do. It’s quite clear. Happy with his performance – all the subs had a really good impact. That’s what I expect from players on the bench. You are not playing with 11, you are playing with five, so every sub has to be ready and tonight is just the best example you can get.”

Antony Martial endured a tough last season with United, scoring just one goal in 11 games. He was then sent on loan to Sevilla in January, where his situation remained stagnant as well after managing just one goal in 12 games. However, Erik ten Hag’s appointment was seen as a glimmer of hope, and probably the last chance for Martial to save his United career.

He then impressed the new gaffer in the pre-season scoring 3 goals in 5 games and putting on some brilliant displays against Liverpool and Crystal Palace. He missed the start of the season with the Achilles pain and returned against the Reds in the Premier League, only for the injury to reoccur. He is now however looking in his best shape and has enjoyed the trust of Ten Hag who prefers the Frenchman over the 37-year-old Ronaldo for his high-pressing system. After delivering back-to-back blistering performances, Martial is in line for his first start of the season against Everton at the weekend.