Martial embracing pressure of Man Utd’s No. 9 shirt and central striking role

The French forward has reclaimed the jersey first handed to him when arriving at Old Trafford and been charged with the task of leading the line

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Anthony Martial is embracing the pressure of being Manchester United’s No. 9, with the Frenchman delighted to be back in a favoured central striking role.

An iconic squad number was handed to the exciting frontman upon his arrival at Old Trafford in 2015.

He delivered 17 goals in his debut campaign and was tipped to become an integral part of the Red Devils’ attacking unit.

Martial was, however, to be shunted out to the flanks by Jose Mourinho and forced to change number after Romelu Lukaku’s arrival in a £75 million ($91m) deal with Everton.

The Belgian striker has now moved on, heading to Italy with Inter, allowing a 23-year-old to revert back to the position in which he started his United career.

Martial is determined to make the most of his opportunity, telling the Red Devils’ official club app: “Since I was a young kid, I have always played as a striker but, then again, I’m fine with playing more out wide as it’s a position that I enjoy playing.

“But it’s a real pleasure to find myself back in that more central role so I hope I can really help the team from there and go on to score plenty of goals.”

On the message passed onto him by United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – himself a former goal-getter – Martial added: “Now that I’ve taken the number nine shirt back once again, all he has said to me is that I have a responsibility and that I have to score goals, so that’s what I’m trying to do.

“We work on that a lot in training and I think it’s improving all the time.”

Martial opened his account for 2019-20 in a 4-0 victory over Chelsea, as United burst out of the blocks at Old Trafford with a clinical display of finishing.

Fellow forward Marcus Rashford was also among the goals, as he bagged a brace, with Solskjaer allowing his front line to interchange over the course of 90 minutes.

Martial, who is happy drifting wide a la Thierry Henry, said of his partnership and understanding with England international Rashford: “It’s good for us as it allows us to move the opposition defence around.

“It definitely helps to unsettle them and that’s a good thing for us.

“It also means we can switch roles when we want to have a bit more time and a few more touches on the ball. It’s very important and the key is to keep the right balance for our team.”

United will be back in Premier League action on Monday when they take in a trip to Wolves.

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