'I hope they agree' - Jose Mourinho shifts his view on Anthony Martial but hints he still has plenty to learn
Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has insisted he is hoping striker Anthony Martial signs a new contract with the club, just a few months after he appeared to be keen for him to leave.
Mourinho made little secret of his doubts over Martial's future in his plans as he left him out of key games last season and then fined the France striker for his late return to United's pre-season training camp following the birth of his child.
It appeared there would be no way back for Martial at United after that incident last summer and he was strongly linked with a move to Tottenham, yet Mourinho has now backtracked a little by urging the player to sign a new deal with the club.
Martial's current contract runs out next summer and while United will activate a clause in his contract that will ensure he stays until the summer of 2020, it seems Mourinho is now content to encourage the club to hang on to a player who has scored some vital goals since his return to the side in recent weeks.
Yet his praise of Martial's abilities were laced with a suggestion that the player has yet to prove he can perform consistently at the highest level.
"Obviously, I hope they will agree," stated Mourinho. "One thing is that he's a talented player that everybody knows he is, everybody knows since he was in Monaco that he is a talented player.
"Another thing is a talented player with consistency and understanding what a football match is in the globality.
"When you reach that level, or when you are almost reaching that level, is when you become a top player. One thing is top talent, another is a top player. He is now much closer to being a top player.
"Obviously I would like him to stay. I know the club wants him very much to stay. Hopefully he is going to stay."
Mourinho also confirmed he has no input into the club's contract negotiations and confirmed he is happy to be in a position where he does not know how much his star players earn.
"I don't belong to the discussions of contracts," Mourinho added. "To be honest, I don't even know their contracts in the sense of numbers and I'm really happy with that, not participating in these kind of discussions."