Monday 20 August 2018

'Family will always come first' - Anthony Martial gives first response to Jose Mourinho after paternity leave row

Jose Mourinho is becoming increasing frustrated with Anthony Martial (Martin Rickett/PA)
Jose Mourinho is becoming increasing frustrated with Anthony Martial (Martin Rickett/PA)
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Manchester United striker Anthony Martial has broken his silence after his manager Jose Mourinho questioned his decision not to return to the club's US tour following the birth of his child.

Martial, who has been the subject of intense transfer speculation in recent months, left the club's pre-season trip to America to support his partner Melanie Da Cruz as she delivered their child, but Mourinho was not impressed by his decision to avoid flying back to join up with the United squad.

"He has the baby and after the baby is born - beautiful baby, full of health, thank god," Mourinho told the media. "Now he should be here, and he is not here."

Relations between Mourinho and Martial have been strained in recent months, after the striker slipped out of favour at United last season and then missed out on a place in France's World Cup-winning squad.

Martial's agent has confirmed his client is keen to leave United this summer, with Tottenham among those eager to sign a player the Old Trafford giants signed from Monaco in the summer of 2015 in a deal that could rise to €70m.

Yet Mourinho's suggestion that he didn't know when Martial would return to the United first team squad has now been resolved, with the French striker updating his followers on the events of recent days as he hinted at complications during the birth of his child.

"Thank you all for your posts," stated Martial in a social media post. "My little Swan is fine, for the mom it was harder but thanks to God she's better now.

"Sorry but my family will always come first... Back tomorrow in Manchester."

It remains to be seen whether Mourinho is ready to welcome Martial back in his first team plans, after he refused to answer questions about the striker's future following United's 2-1 pre-season friendly win against Real Madrid on Tuesday.

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