Sunday 26 May 2019

Anthony Martial nears Manchester United exit as he leaves US tour

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial
Manchester United forward Anthony Martial
Smalling was one of the highest-profile casualties of Gareth Southgate’s new style of play. Photo by John Peters/Man Utd via Getty Images

Luke Edwards

Anthony Martial is edging closer to being sold by Manchester United after he decided to leave the club's United States tour early.

The France international has returned to Paris to be at the birth of his son, but manager Jose Mourinho is not happy about the late notice given and the club have failed to confirm or deny whether he had received permission from his coach.

Martial is unlikely to return to the US and this will be perceived as an attempt to try to force a way out of Old Trafford, even if the motivation to leave was understandable.

Meanwhile, Chris Smalling has admitted he struggled to come to terms with his omission from England's World Cup squad but says no damage has been done to his morale because he is still appreciated at United.

Smalling was one of the highest-profile casualties of Gareth Southgate's new style of play, as he was not deemed good enough on the ball to play out from the back. That stung but Smalling is now focusing on the challenge at Old Trafford.

United are once again being heavily linked with signing a new centre-back, with Harry Maguire, the Leicester City defender preferred to Smalling for England, their top target. Yet it is likely to be Marcos Rojo who will be sold if United can complete that tricky-looking deal.

"Initially, the summer was a disappointment because you want to be a part of big tournaments," Smalling said.

"I had to come to terms with that and I made the most of the summer. I went to Vietnam and Thailand, I'm feeling good and I can hopefully get a full pre-season, which I've not had in many years.

"I don't feel as though I've got a point to prove. I want to follow on from the number of games I played last season, keep kicking on and helping the team and hopefully win some trophies.

"This club is always linked to centre-backs, whether it's the club or agents or whoever, because the best (want to) come here.

"But I'm happy and when I'm fit I play. Right now, the shirt's mine and I intend to keep it." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Indo Sport

The Left Wing: Leinster's succession plan, Munster's missing piece and the art of contract negotiations

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport