The 19-year-old forward has enjoyed a positive start to his spell with the Red Devils in the weeks following his big-money transfer from Ligue 1 outfit Monaco in September.
Martial has been a regular in Van Gaal’s first team since his arrival at the club and has already scored four goals for the Premier League outfit, demonstrating maturity beyond his years.
The teenager will be hoping to feature when United host local rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.
And although Van Gaal insists that he was always aware of Martial’s talent, he admits that his consistent performances for United have been a pleasant surprise.
Van Gaal told a news conference on Friday: “I’m not surprised by him, no, because we have analysed him and bought him because of our analysis.
“In the consistency, he has surprised me, but in terms of his ability, no. Because we have known already for a long time he can do it.
“He has to adapt to our philosophy. That is a big point. He is adapting quickly, but he has to adapt and develop himself more. He is going great though.
“Young players are not normally consistent – they’re still looking for their identity in football. That’s why I have asked for time for him. But I have said that Anthony is rather good and consistent, even though he is still looking for his own identity at this level of football.”
United head into Sunday’s showdown in third place in the Premier League table and two points behind leaders City. A win would move them above their local rivals.
MORE: Man United latest news
MORE: Arsenal latest news
MORE: Chelsea latest news
MORE: Liverpool latest news