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Anthony Martial Acing Audition For Man United Starting Role In Cristiano Ronaldo's Absence

Anthony Martial was handed Manchester United's no.9 jersey at the start of the 2019/20 season following the departure of Romelu Lukaku.

The Frenchman lived up to his billing that season by scoring 23 goals in all competitions.

But then he lost his way.

Martial only netted seven times in the 2020/21 campaign as he was outscored by Edinson Cavani, Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Bruno Fernandes.

He then scored just once in the first half of the 2021/22 season, before being loaned out to Sevilla for the second half.

But Martial is still United's no.9 on paper and it looks as though new manager Erik ten Hag could be considering giving him the status to match this season.

Anthony Martial pictured after scoring for Manchester United in a 4-0 win over Liverpool in a 2022 pre-season friendly

Anthony Martial pictured after scoring for Manchester United in their 4-0 win over Liverpool

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Martial has started both of United's first two pre-season friendlies as the focal point in Ten Hag's 4-2-3-1 formation.

He has performed well in both of those outings too, scoring in the first half in the 4-0 win over Liverpool, before netting again in the opening 45 minutes against Melbourne Victory on Friday.

Martial's importance to United will likely increase if Cristiano Ronaldo gets his wish and is able to leave Old Trafford for a Champions League club this summer.

Ronaldo has not traveled with United on their pre-season tour but his absence could prove to be a blessing in disguise for Ten Hag.

Because while CR7 is undoubtably a better goalscorer than Martial, United's no.9 is a much better fit tactically to lead Ten Hag's attack due to his ability to press and work as a team-player.

Had Ronaldo traveled to Thailand and Australia with United then Ten Hag would have been duty-bound to play him due to his commercial influence.

But with Ronaldo out of the picture for now at least, Martial is being given a fair chance to rebuild his confidence and audition for the role of United's lead frontman.

So far, he is acing that audition.