Dwight Yorke has backed Anthony Martial to find form for Manchester United despite the forward being singled out for criticism in the shock midweek defeat to Sheffield United.
Martial had a goal ruled out in the defeat to the Blades, whilst former United defender Rio Ferdinand picked out the forward’s reluctance to track back as a key reason as to why they conceded the decisive goal in the 2-1 loss.
Another goalless game for the Frenchman meant it is seven games in all competitions since Martial found the net – and he has just five goals to his name all season.
Yet, speaking to the club website, United legend Yorke argued that Martial has been treated too harshly and is still on a learning curve in his career.
Yorke said: “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 also urged Martial to not listen to the media criticism after the loss and argued that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should start him against Arsenal on Saturday in order to encourage the Frenchman to prove a point.
He said: “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.
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Manchester United lost 2-1 to Sheffield United as they passed up an opportunity to return to the top of the Premier League table.
There’s no time for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his players to feel sorry for themselves, though, with a game against Arsenal at the Emirates to come on Saturday.
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“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.”