BBC Sport pundit admits he judged 24-year-old Man United star wrongly
BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks admits Anthony Martial changed his mind with his performances for Manchester United over Christmas
Garth Crooks has admitted that he has been forced to review his position on Anthony Martial after the Manchester United striker’s goal-scoring heroics in the club’s festive fixtures.
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer started Martial in a central role for the visit of Newcastle United on Boxing Day and their trip to Burnley on Saturday night.
Martial rewarded his manager’s faith with three goals in the two Premier League games to help Manchester United secure much-needed successive top-flight victories in the top-four race.
The 24-year-old cancelled out Matty Longstaff’s opener at Old Trafford on Boxing Day with a fortuitous finish before Martial highlighted his quality with a great second goal.
Martial carried his goal-scoring form into their trip to Turf Moor, where he broke the deadlock before Marcus Rashford secured three points for the visitors.
The former Monaco striker has scored seven times and has made three assists in 14 games in the Premier League in the current campaign.
Former Spurs striker Crooks was impressed with Martial’s performances in Manchester United’s victories over Newcastle and Wolves.
“I think I saw Anthony Martial smile over the Christmas period,” Crooks told BBC Sport.
“This lad only seems happy when he’s scoring goals. Against Newcastle he bagged two and his second was gorgeous. I was beginning to have my doubts that Martial was the right man to lead the line for Manchester United.
“However, I must admit the France international has handled both United’s festive fixtures with a certain authority.
“Watching the way he collected the ball from Andreas Pereira and slotted the pass into the Burnley net with such confidence, I may have to review my position.”
Martial moved to Manchester United in a £36m deal from Ligue 1 side Monaco during Louis van Gaal’s stint in charge in the 2015 summer transfer window.
Manchester United will take on bitter rivals Arsenal on New Year’s Day.