Anthony Martial : My story so far
That was the primary question we asked ourselves ahead of the 20-year-old summer signing from Monaco conducting his first major interview as a Red, which will be broadcast on MUTV at 19:30 GMT on Tuesday and is also available to read across 10 pages in the current edition of Inside United magazine.
This fascinating and in-depth conversation is essential viewing and reading for United fans who have warmly embraced the club’s new no.9, without knowing too much about the man behind the goals. Here, we present five things we learned from Anthony’s insightful first interview...
PATRICE EVRA URGED HIM TO BECOME A RED
Explained: Martial was raised in a suburban area of Paris called Les Ulis and the area was also once home to Patrice Evra, the bona fide Reds legend and 2008 UEFA Champions League winner who signed for United from Monaco in January 2006. That is of course the same route Anthony followed last summer and, naturally, he has since consulted his experienced France team-mate about the club.
Martial says: “Patrice Evra told me it was a ‘club of champions’, a club that above all else wants to win, and certainly since I arrived here I’ve felt that for myself too.”
THREE MEN INSPIRED ANTHONY’S CAREER
Explained: Anthony has often been compared to Arsenal hero Thierry Henry - mainly because he too came from Les Ulis and once played for Monaco - yet our exciting no.9 says: “I don’t think we are very much alike”, when discussing what he later concedes to be a flattering association. Instead, he points to three men as the true inspirations behind his professional football career: his brother Johan who currently plays for Troyes FC, the great Brazil striker Ronaldo and the similarly iconic Ronaldinho.
Martial says: “Well, I’ve always had my family right behind me, and a brother who plays football too. He was the one who really gave me the desire to follow in his footsteps.”
MORGAN SCHNEIDERLIN DOUBLED AS HIS TRANSLATOR
Explained: Moving to England as a 19-year-old was surely a challenge for Martial, especially without the ability to speak the language, yet his transition has been eased by French team-mate Morgan Schneiderlin acting as a temporary translator in early team meetings and training sessions. Anthony has been taking regular English lessons since August and now “understands things quite well”, which has allowed him to settle into Manchester life with his partner and young daughter.
Martial says: “Gradually I am trying to speak English a little more but right now I can understand things quite well. Again, it’s down to me to try to communicate in English with my team-mates.”
ANTHONY ENJOYS THE QUIET LIFE
Explained: United supporters know all about Martial’s quality and ability on the pitch, but what does he like to do away from the field? Until now, the youngster has been shielded from too much media contact and has largely kept himself to himself. But as he told us, his life is a simple one and he enjoys nothing more than spending time with his young family at home. He’s also a fan of the cinema but admits he misses French films from his homeland, which are hard to come by in the multiplexes of Manchester!
Martial says: “I go for walks, go out to a restaurant. Nothing special, just normal stuff really. Marouane [Fellaini] has given me loads of restaurants to visit! I’ve tried them and chosen the best ones.”
PLAYING WITH WAYNE ROONEY IS EDUCATIONAL
Explained: Martial and Rooney share common ground: both joined United as precocious teenagers, both have won the prestigious Golden Boy award and both have been among the goals this season. They’ve collectively hit the net 23 times thus far and, perhaps more importantly, Anthony is confident he is rapidly becoming a better player by working alongside the club captain, and says every day on the training ground is educational.
Martial says: “It’s always nice, it allows me to keep improving and also to feel more relaxed when playing alongside him. When you see someone like Rooney, you feel that bit more confident.