The former Red Devils frontman believes the French forward has been unfairly treated amid struggles to prove himself as a leading number nine
Anthony Martial has been “very harshly” treated during “a pretty difficult time”, says Dwight Yorke, with the Manchester United striker being backed to silence his critics if Ole Gunnar Solskjaer keeps faith.
The France international forward was handed the No.9 shirt and a central striking berth at Old Trafford in the wake of Romelu Lukaku’s departure during the summer of 2019.
Questions were immediately asked of whether a man who had been filling a wide role for club and country was a suitable option to lead the line for an ambitious Premier League heavyweight.
Martial hit a career-best 23 goals in the 2019-20 campaign, but he did not convince everybody and has just five efforts to his name this season through 25 appearances.
Yorke believes the 25-year-old is being unfairly singled out, with the 1999 Treble winner telling United’s official website: “He’s had a pretty difficult time, at times, hasn’t he and I think he’s been singled out, in my opinion, very harshly.
“I think he’s a fantastic player for what he brings to the team but has probably, in my opinion, been singled out far too often. He’s done a fantastic job and is still only a young guy.
“Coming into our league in England is very difficult for any guy and he’s still at that, I call it, the football education stage. He’s still 25 and has a couple of years before he really blossoms into the footballer he should become.
“He’s still at that learning curve but, yeah, I feel winning takes care of everything. It’s an old cliche but, when you’re scoring goals as a striker, that will always take care of everything.
“At the moment, he’s not doing that and people always point the finger at an individual or a few individuals, singling him out at the moment. So, for me, it’s been harshly done but, at the end of the day, being a Manchester United player, you are always going to have people trying to do that.
“You’re under that scrutiny, so to speak, so you have to rise above it and show what you’re capable of doing. I’m sure he can produce the football we’ve seen in the past and get back to that and it will take care of everything else.”
Yorke added, with Martial seeing a goal that could have got him back on track disallowed in a 2-1 defeat to Sheffield United: “Well, that’s all it takes sometimes. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen but, at the end of the day, you know when the team loses, people can get criticised, including the manager and players. It’s part and parcel of the game.
“It’s all results based and, if you’re not getting the results you’re supposed to be getting, good results and it doesn’t go for you, you always come under scrutiny.
“I don’t read too much into the media. I’ve lived that media life as a player and you have got to trust yourself to get that belief from the manager and within the squad for what you’re capable of doing. Not to prove to people but to prove to yourself.
“That’s the first and most important thing – to prove to yourself and the manager because the fans will jump on after that. It’s all about the manager picking him up and giving him the confidence to go out there and really perform like he can.
“There’s an easy solution to all of this conversation, it is to score the goals that win football matches. If you can do that and everything else takes care of itself, like I said.
“I hope Ole kind of lets him unleash his talents against Arsenal. Hopefully, he can do the business and people will get back to talking about his football rather than criticising him.”
The Red Devils are due to take in a trip to Emirates Stadium on Saturday, with that contest presenting Solskjaer’s title hopefuls with a chance to get back to winning ways.