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Man United: Ten Hag could find Ronaldo heir in Anthony Martial

A week seemingly can’t go by at Manchester United without a major breaking story emerging, with that having again been evident following Sunday’s victory over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

Erik ten Hag’s side should well have been revelling in their dramatic late triumph over the west Londoners in what was the club’s last game prior to the upcoming World Cup, only for a figure not involved in proceedings on the day to once again steal the limelight.

As had been the case following his refusal to come off the bench following the uplifting win over Tottenham Hotspur a few weeks ago, Cristiano Ronaldo once again soured the mood yesterday, with the footballing icon having typically turned the spotlight onto himself.

Amid recent talk that the 37-year-old could well be on his way in January – amid that debacle against Spurs – the former Real Madrid man has perhaps put the final nail in the coffin regarding his second spell at Old Trafford, following an explosive interview with Piers Morgan.

While not all of the content of that bombshell interview has yet been aired, the 191-cap marksman has seemingly burned his bridges at the Theatre of Dreams after publicly calling out his manager, with an exit now seemingly the only logical solution for all parties.

That apparent act of egotism and self-preservation – with the veteran seeking to blame others rather an admit to his own poor form, having scored just three times this season – has overshadowed the stunning impact of young teammate Alejandro Garnacho, with the 18-year-old gem having netted at the death against Marco Silva’s side to continue his sparkling start to life at senior level.

Somewhat poetically, as one Red Devils career looks to be coming to an end, another is just beginning to blossom, with the teenager’s stoppage-time winner having even evoked memories of that man Ronaldo’s previous stunning effort against the Cottagers during his first spell at the club.

Was it a mistake to re-sign Ronaldo?

Yes, absolutely!

Yes, absolutely!

Not for me!

Not for me!

For all the parallels between Garnacho and the younger, raw version of the Portuguese hotshot – with the pair both dynamic and skilful assets on the flank – it is another United star who could well prove to be the heir to the current Ronaldo in Ten Hag’s side, with Anthony Martial seemingly the man to fill the void through the middle.

The fleet-footed Frenchman – who has been at the club since 2015 – has no doubt endured a frustrating season thus far due to injury, although when the 26-year-old has been on the pitch he has certainly made his mark, with four goals and two assists in just seven games so far this term.

That quality was evident in the win last time out as the former Monaco man played his part in the away side’s opener with a driving run at the defence, having “left his calling card” with an eye-catching display, in the words of journalist George Smith, who also suggested that the striker can be “key” for Ten Hag moving forward.

The former Ajax boss seemingly agrees with that sentiment having lauded the forward’s quality following the win over Aston Villa last week, with the Dutchman stating:

“I like a player like Anthony. He can hold the ball, he is a target, he can run behind, he can finish and he is a good presser.

“He plays very well in a lot of aspects of football and I am happy with that. I’m happy with everything except his availability.”

While there are doubts over the 30-cap ace’s consistency – have notably scored just five league goals for the club across the past two league campaigns prior to this season – it is hard to argue with the player’s quality, having even previously been dubbed “world-class” by former Old Trafford hero, Robin van Persie.

The £250k-per-week ace does face something of an uncertain future in Manchester with his existing deal set to expire in the summer of 2024, although on the evidence of his brief impact so far this term, he could well prove to be the ideal figure to be Ronaldo’s successor in attack.

No longer a player of mere potential, Martial simply now needs to step up and take on the mantle of being the leading man who can spearhead the club moving forward.

Article title: Man United: Ten Hag could find Ronaldo heir in Anthony Martial

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