Alan Shearer says Anthony Martial lacks ‘the hunger, desire and know-how’ to be a number nine following the Manchester United forward’s struggles this season.
Martial enjoyed a career-best campaign after returning to a central role last season, scoring 23 goals in all competitions to be named as the Red Devils’ Player’s Player of the Season.
However, the forward has struggled to replicate those performances during the current campaign and has come in for criticism following a series of lacklustre showings, netting just four league goals.
Martial’s position has also come under threat this season following the summer signing of Edinson Cavani, and Shearer believes the veteran Uruguay international is now ahead of a forward he believes lacks the ‘desire’ to be a number nine.
Shearer believes the France international has talent, but says he has not shown he has the natural qualities to becoming the leading centre-forward in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
“I’ve read that Martial wants to be Manchester United’s main centre-forward and that he sees it as his position. I don’t,” Shearer wrote in The Athletic.
“He’s been there for six years. Last season was his best in terms of numbers, but he’s never scored more than 20 league goals in a campaign and I just don’t see the desperation, the hunger, desire and know-how to be a No 9, to score as many goals as he should.
“I see the talent but that isn’t enough at a club that wants to challenge for the biggest honours. Martial is quite content to spend time outside the box, which is one of the reasons they signed Edinson Cavani and why, if fit, he’s ahead of Martial in their strongest XI.
“I realise that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team are top scorers in the Premier League this season, but I still think that if they had the scope to strengthen a couple of positions then one would be to add a top centre-forward. The other would be centre-half.
”Give them those and they can sustain a serious tilt at the title and the Champions League next season.”
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