Good times have returned to Manchester United. Interim manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has transformed Manchester United’s fortunes and restored the club’s DNA.
Solskjaer has been showered with praise. Some have compared him to former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and most have become sure that he should become the permanent manager. While any Manchester United stay for Solskjaer will improve their title chances next term, two leading men are perhaps more crucial than even the manager himself. Those are 23-year-old Anthony Martial and 21-year-old Marcus Rashford, who are both the key to Manchester United’s future. They’re two players capable of being named the best in the world and becoming serial winners.
Anthony Martial was signed by Manchester United from Monaco in 2015 for a fee of around £50 million. Martial has scored thirty-two goals in 105 Premier League appearances for United. Martial has particularly impressed with darting runs and brilliant pieces of trickery. His style of play bears comparison’s to Thierry Henry, something that has become increasingly clear in the last few matches. Meanwhile, Martial’s current manager has challenged him to reach the heights of Cristiano Ronaldo, and has suggested that Martial could still improve. Martial is a leader, a creator and a goalscorer. He has eight goals in 19 appearances this year already, just one goal less than he scored in 30 games last season.
Meanwhile, Marcus Rashford is enjoying an often more central role under Solksjaer, scoring six goals since the Norwegian manager arrived in December. In all, Rashford has scored nine goals in 22 Premier League games this season. That is two more goals then the Englishman scored in 35 Premier League matches last season. Rashford’s increasingly clinical finishing, high work rate and bursts of speed have made him a fan favorite at Old Trafford. The former ‘United academy star has scored 26 goals in 100 Premier League appearances for his hometown club, something that is remarkable for a 21-year-old.
However, it is not the individual talents of Rashford and Martial that matter as much as their partnership. Solksjaer recently encouraged them to inspire one another. Both men are similar ages and of similar styles and talents. They will surely eclipse the achievements of many former Manchester United forwards if they are kept together. The trickery of Martial and the lethal finishing of Rashford, the splitting passes from Martial, and the powerful running of Rashford should make them blend beautifully. They should better the achievements of Ronaldo and Rooney, and Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole. The men are different enough to complement one another and are alike enough to understand each other. They both work hard for their team and score and assist goals. Surely when playing in tandem, both men can thrive.
Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford have shined under Solskjaer, and have indeed shown their potential. Martial signed a new five and a half year contract on transfer deadline day. Meanwhile, Rashford is reportedly in talks with Manchester United about a similar length deal. Both men signing new contracts with the club is a good sign, but as football clubs get richer; contracts mean less and less. Thus, it will be up to the Manchester United board to choose to reject the massive bids that will eventually come their way. Rashford is reportedly a £100 million target for Real Madrid while Martial has touted the attention of Bayern Munich. Both clubs are world powers and rivals to Manchester United’s fame and financial prowess. Only time will tell whether the Old Trafford club have the steel to reject nine-figure bids for their star men, but one thing is certain. If they refuse them and Rashford and Martial stay together, the glory days could return to Old Trafford.