‘Do you want your No 9 back? Show me that you deserve it every time you’re on the pitch’: Anthony Martial reveals challenge laid down by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to justify returning iconic shirt to striker this season
- Anthony Martial had No 9 shirt taken off him by Zlatan Ibrahimovic previously
- He regained it this season and took up gauntlet laid by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
- Frenchman has 21 goals in all competitions and has been on top form recently
- Striker revealed that Solskjaer had told him to prove he deserved the No 9
Anthony Martial has revealed the challenge laid down to him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that inspired his superb season for Manchester United.
The Frenchman is on 21 goals in all competitions and has been driven by the need to do justice to the famous No 9 shirt.
Martial told Canal Plus: ‘He [Solskjaer] sent me a message, he said “do you want to take your No.9 shirt back?”
Anthony Martial has been in scintillating form this season having been given back the No 9
‘I straight up said yes! I said yes and he told me now it’s up to you to show me [that you deserve it] every time you’re on the pitch.’
Martial previously wore the No 9 before it was given to Zlatan Ibrahimovic when he arrived at the club.
It was then handed back to Martial last summer and the 24-year-old is enjoying his best campaign for the Old Trafford club.
Solskjaer has been delighted with the striker’s progress, saying this week: ‘He’s definitely developing, improving and he’s enjoying his football.’
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the Frenchman to justify getting back the shirt with his displays
Martial has responded to the challenge by scoring 21 goals in all competitions this term
‘He’s stepped it up this season, I feel, both as an individual and more so as a team player, and physically.
‘I remember there were talks about our forwards last season being the least active and there were some stats flying around but Anthony is now working really hard for the team and he is a quality, quality finisher.’
Martial showed his class in the 2-2 draw against Southampton, scoring a sensational goal after cutting in from the left flank.
He will be looking to add to his tally on Thursday evening as United face Crystal Palace.
They remain level on points with Leicester but lie fifth on goal difference.