Anthony Martial looks like he has been rewarded with a starting place in Erik ten Hag's team when Manchester United host Brighton in the opening game of the Premier League.
The French striker's career at the club looked certain to end after his failed loan spell at Sevilla, however pre-season performances might've handed him a lifeline under the new Dutch manager.
Helped by the fact that Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to return to training, with a wish to leave the club, Martial has been given the keys to the number nine position during the camp so far, and he's enjoying himself.
Reenergised and sharp, the forward has looked like one of United's best players in the three fixtures so far.
Three goals and an assist show that he's having a good pre-season on paper. If you were to watch the games, you'd notice a lot more than that, however.
His link-up play, defensive work and movement in and around the opposition box have all looked great, and while United fans don't want to overreact to pre-season fixtures, the Frenchman must be given his due.
These performances certainly do not mean nothing, though. In fact, it appears as though it's allowed Martial extra time to impress Ten Hag.
A report from Chris Wheeler said that it is expected that Martial leads the line for United at Old Trafford on the opening day.
Importantly, it adds that this will be the case even if Ronaldo returns to training beforehand.
With Martial flanked by Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho, if United are able to start the season well, it could end up being difficult for Ronaldo to return to the starting team if he cannot find a move away from United this summer.
Ultimately, it will come down to Martial's audition at the beginning of the season, but the fact that he ever got the callback from Ten Hag is impressive in itself.
Whilst he has impressed in game, Martial has also reportedly wowed his manager on the training pitch.
🗞 Erik ten Hag has been impressed with Anthony Martial’s work in training. [@lauriewhitwell]— Utd District (@UtdDistrict) July 21, 2022
Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News says that United's man in charge decided against selling the 25-year-old before the team jetted off to Bangkok. It must have been good first impressions from Martial.
Many would agree that the forward's style of play suits how Ten Hag wants to play. It has been evident in pre-season.
Now it is just seeing whether or not he can replicate his play into the season, as United look to have a much-improved campaign.
"I'm sure he can come back even better." Ten Hag told reporters of Martial last week.
"I think when he has the right focus and the right motivation and he works hard he will have production because he is a good player.
"I say when he has the right focus and every day delivers much then he will have production and it's up to him.”
Featured Image Credit: Manchester United
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