Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Anthony Martial will develop as a striker rather on the left-wing, despite playing him as a wide man in recent games. The Dutch boss hailed the young star's versatility, saying the Frenchman is capable of playing in all four forward positions.
The 19-year-old starlet had an impressive start to life at Old Trafford following his big-money move from Monaco. He scored four goals in his first four games including a wonderful solo effort on his debut against Liverpool. But he has also proved his versatility in recent games, playing on the left of a three-man forward line to leave Wayne Rooney leading the attack in his favoured position as the centre-forward.
Van Gaal says his versatility will see him playing in different positions in the short term, but predicts that his future at Old Trafford lies as the sole striker.
"I don't think I have said in one press conference that Anthony Martial is better left or in the striker's position. I can never say that because I am always thinking of the team's benefit, not the benefit for one player," he told the club website. "I have said that I always have to make decisions dependent on the game plan, the opponent and their weaknesses and so on. It's not that I have said he is best in the left-winger position."
Nevertheless, the manager reveals that the France international doesn't feel comfortable playing on the right side of the attack. "He can play in three positions in his eyes, and that is left, striker and number 10. He doesn't want to play at number seven [wide right], but I am fully convinced that he can do that also. But that's another story.
"What is his best position? I think that his best position maybe is the striker's position. But he has to develop himself still. He is very young. But I think it is better to develop him in the striker's position than in the left-winger's position."
The boss, though, has hailed his quick adaptation to the Premier League pace but warns that he will probably experience a dip of form during the season, like the one recently suffered by Memphis Depay – he has been left out of the Dutch national squad for the coming internationals.
"I have said that Memphis is the greatest talent of his age but he is also only 21," van Gaal said. "That is an age when you cannot expect consistency. And he has to adapt to many things. I expected this. We have to give him time. Maybe Anthony will continue scoring goals and winning matches, but I expect he will also have a dip in form."