Gary Neville uses Cristiano Ronaldo example to defend Man United duo

The Man United legend admits the Red Devils need to be patience with Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff
Man United star Anthony Martial Photo: The Sport Review

Gary Neville has reassured Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford that Cristiano Ronaldo required three or four seasons to become a key Manchester United player.

The attacking duo are undoubtedly talented forwards but both Martial and Rashford have struggled for consistency since breaking onto the Old Trafford scene under Louis van Gaal.

Jose Mourinho’s predecessor was responsible for giving the talents the chance to shine in the Manchester United team and the pair appeared to thrive under the former Netherlands head coach.

However, the arrival of Mourinho has coincided with the pair suffering a loss of confidence and form, while the influx of signings have provided more competition for a starting spot.

Rashford has netted 15 goals in 113 games in all competitions over the past two and a half seasons, while Martial has managed 23 goals in 96 fixtures during the same spell.

Mourinho made the surprise decision to entrust Martial and Rashford with a starting spot for their trip to title rivals Chelsea FC at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

Martial justified his inclusion with a quick-fire double in the second half to cancel out Antonio Rudiger’s opening goal before Ross Barkley netted an injury-time equaliser.

While Neville wants to see more from Martial, Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez, the Manchester United legend used Ronaldo as an example why the club have to be patient with the English and French talents.

“They need more from the front three, there’s so much talent there,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“If you think of Lukaku, [Alexis] Sanchez, Martial and Rashford, they need more from them. I want to see more runs past Lukaku. I want the two wide players, whoever they are – you see what Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah do for Liverpool, how they make those narrow runs inside.

“I’m not saying they have to play narrow but wherever you start, you’ve got to end up in goalscoring positions more often and you’ve got to show that little bit of quality and composure in the final third.”

Neville added: “I know they’re still young, but they’ve had two or three seasons in the first team and yes, it took Cristiano Ronaldo three or four seasons so there is still that growth to come, but they are getting lots of chances.

“You may argue that Marcus isn’t a right-sided player, Martial wants to play as a centre-forward, so does Marcus but they have to make the best with what they’ve got and I think they can do so much more and that’s a compliment – it’s not a criticism – because they can give so much to the team.

“They could score 20 goals a season from those positions and Lukaku could score 25 – that’s a target of 65 goals. Is 65 goals between those players, including Sanchez, too much to ask? I don’t think it is. There are 65 goals there, go and score them and make sure you do it every single season of your career because that’s the quality you have to get to. Maybe that will give them the confidence today.”

Manchester United made Martial the most expensive teenager in the world when the Red Devils signed the France international in a £36m deal from Ligue 1 side AS Monaco in the 2015 summer transfer window.

His transfer fee has since been eclipsed by Paris Saint-Germain’s fee for Kylian Mbappe.

Rashford, on the other hand, scored twice in a 3-2 win over Arsenal in his Premier League debut in February 2016.

The England international ended his first season in the Manchester United team with eight goals in 18 games.

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