Anthony Martial's Man Utd training ground bust-up, feeling 'let down' and final message

Anthony Martial has left Man United (Image: Getty)

Anthony Martial was just 19 when he arrived on football’s biggest stage. The most expensive teenager in the world at the time, Martial scored a goal on his debut for Manchester United against fierce rivals, Liverpool, sending Old Trafford into a frenzy. However, nine years later, Martial is exiting on a low note, having scored only one Premier League goal in his final season with the club.

During his tenure at Old Trafford, Martial had his moments of glory, including winning two FA Cups, a Carabao Cup and the Europa League, but it wasn’t without its fair share of challenges. Let’s take a look at two notable incidents.

Martial was out of action during the initial weeks of the 2022/23 season but made a comeback by scoring twice in the Manchester derby, only to be sidelined again due to another injury. He subsequently fell down the pecking order at Old Trafford.

After recovering once more, Martial found himself in a training ground altercation with United youth player Dan Gore. The incident took place during the World Cup, while the majority of the squad was away on international duty.

A disgruntled Martial, who was overlooked for selection by France, reacted after the youngster clattered him with a robust tackle. To Martial’s credit, he made amends with Gore and both parties moved past the incident.

But the incident became the most significant piece of news about Martial that season, with his persistent injuries sparking rumours that Erik ten Hag was prepared to let him go in the summer transfer window.

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Despite the speculation, Martial stayed put at United. However, the club has now decided not to activate the one-year extension in his contract, signalling that Ten Hag and his team have given up on unlocking the Frenchman’s full potential.

Another pivotal moment in Martial’s United career was when he was stripped of his number 9 shirt. This incident marked the first time during his tenure at Old Trafford in which he realised he wasn’t untouchable.

Patrice Evra suggested that Jose Mourinho’s decision to give Zlatan Ibrahimovic Martial’s number severely dented the winger’s confidence and even made him contemplate his future at the club.

Evra told Sky Sports: “I think he had a brilliant start when he played under [Louis] van Gaal. Then I remember one episode, unfortunately, I think they let him really down when they swapped the shirt with Zlatan.

“I remember we were in the national team and he received a call from the club and they say you have to give your No. 9 shirt, and he was like, ‘No, absolutely not’. But after, Mourinho contacted him to say Zlatan is going to take the No. 9 and you’re going to take the No. 11. It’s not like I’m going to say Martial’s been not playing well because of that number shirt, but it started from there.”

Anthony Martial has been on Man United’s books for nine years (Image: Getty)

Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley also claimed that the number being given to Ibrahimovic “affected” the player’s form, calling Mourinho’s decision “disrespectful”.

“The loss of the No. 9 shirt has been mentioned to justify his start to the season,” Lamboley told RMC Sport in 2016. “I am not going to lie to you. Yes, this has affected him, yes this surprised him, yes it disappointed him… for a few days.

“But he is a professional. He then got back into the swing of things. Personally, I have not accepted this decision that I deemed uncalled for and disrespectful towards my player. This feeling, I have directed this towards Manchester United’s directors. We turn the page and move on but it’s hard to digest it.”

Martial said his goodbyes to the United fans in a statement on Tuesday in which he thanked them for their passion and loyalty. He wrote: “After nine incredible years at the club, the time has come for me to turn a new page in my career. “Since I arrived in 2015, I have had the immense honour of wearing this shirt and playing in front of you, the best supporters in the world!

“You have been an unwavering support, through the good times and the difficult. Your passion and loyalty have been a constant source of motivation for me. I’d like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you’ve done for me. Your songs, your encouragement and your love for the club are memories that will remain engraved in my heart forever.”