Sunday 25 February 2018

Zlatan Ibrahimovic reveals his breakfast pep talks helped Anthony Martial rediscover his form

Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates
Anthony Martial of Manchester United celebrates

Luke Brown

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has praised his Manchester United team-mate Anthony Martial for remaining professional during a recent lack of game time, adding that his hard work and professionalism paid off in the recent 2-0 win against Watford.

Martial has endured a difficult second season at Old Trafford and has regularly been left on the bench by manager Jose Mourinho.

Mourinho publicly challenged the young French forward to improve his performances if he wanted to earn a regular spot in the United first-team, and Martial responded with a goal and an assist in a man of the match performance at home to the Hornets.

And it turns out that summer signing Ibrahimovic had a role to play in Martial’s improvement, with the Swede revealing to the club website that he has been passing on some advice to the 21-year-old during breakfast chats at United’s Carrington training ground.

“When we eat breakfast and he is beside me or if he passes me, we talk,” Ibrahimovic said.

“I think everyone talks to everyone. It is not like you try to cheer him up; it is a good atmosphere and the guys are all good guys, very professional.

“He isn’t a guy that speaks a lot; he is quiet and very professional. He always tries to do his best, trains hard and that is paying off, just like in the match against Watford.

"I think it depends on every individual and what kind of person they are and their approach, how open he is. It is different for every person. He is not going around with his head down. He is training hard, he gives a lot of energy and he wants to play, which is normal.”

Ibrahimovic believes Martial can up his performances even further however, adding: “He was creating good chances. I felt he tired in the second half because he was running a lot and he hasn’t played every game, but he played well. He scored a nice goal and it’s good for him and his confidence and the team."

Martial’s future in Manchester has been subject to much speculation this week, with the Frenchman linked with a summer move to Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Spurs were first linked with Martial in 2015, when the forward was still playing for Monaco in Ligue 1, and speculation has grown that they could return for the forward should United make a successful move for Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann.

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