Dimitar Berbatov believes Anthony Martial needs to become ‘nastier’ if he is to have a future at Manchester United.
Martial only managed seven goals in a regressive 2020-21 season and the number nine is effectively United’s third-choice striker behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani.
Paul Pogba, Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford are all arguably ahead of Martial in the queue on the left-hand side and Martial did not last an hour in his only start in August at Southampton.
Although Martial, 25, enjoyed a morale-boosting time away with the France national side, starting in two of their three games and scoring the equaliser against Ukraine, his club future appears uncertain and his former Monaco teammate Berbatov would not be surprised if Martial leaves next year.
“This is my only regret of this [Ronaldo] situation, maybe Anthony is a bit left out and maybe he is going to be the casualty of all this,” Berbatov told the Manchester Evening News . “But we don’t know yet. We can speculate as long as we can but maybe he will surprise everybody with even harder performances on the pitch.
“Because Ronaldo is in the team automatically, everybody else – especially the young players – will want to raise their game and bar, performing on the training pitch and in the games. In the case of Anthony, if he doesn’t get playing time as much as he wants then I will see him leave the club at some point, to be honest.
“He’s a private guy, just like myself, I don’t think many people understand he is actually a good boy, he wants to do good, he trains well.
“My advice is maybe to be a bit more open, a bit nastier, but not nasty like hitting people around like a defender, but more, ‘I want to be first-choice. I want to prove how good I am.’ A bit more of that nastiness to show the manager that ‘I am here, I want to stay and fight for my place’. If that doesn’t happen, the quality in him is there to go to another place and look for his luck there.
“I have my soft spot for Anthony because I played with him, he has great qualities. But if it doesn’t work and he’s not playing, he should go somewhere else.”
Martial is contracted to United until 2024 and the club has the option of an additional year. Cavani is expected to leave when his contract expires in June but United could still move for a younger goalscorer.
Dimitar Berbatov was speaking ahead of the launch of Betfair’s new VAR-Batov series, where the Premier League legend will be judging the unfair moments in football that affect so many punters. Watch the first in the series on Betfair’s twitter next week