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Zlatan Ibrahimovic leaving Manchester United will bring best out of Anthony Martial, says Mikael Silvestre

Martial mustered just eight goals in 42 appearances last season

Simon Peach
Friday 14 July 2017 11:08 BST
Anthony Martial has been backed to bounce back next season
Anthony Martial has been backed to bounce back next season (Getty)

Anthony Martial has been backed to thrive at Manchester United in the absence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Life at Old Trafford began seamlessly for the 21-year-old after his big-money move from Monaco, yet he flattered to deceive during his second campaign in the north west.

Martial mustered just eight goals in 42 appearances under Jose Mourinho, who left him out of the United squad entirely at times having grown frustrated with the France international.

But with Ibrahimovic released following a season-ending knee injury former Red Devil Mikael Silvestre has backed him to shine.

"Zlatan’s aura was big. So was his character, his ego, and what he was spreading around him was sometimes intimidating for the younger players. But also it gives you an example to follow, so it was good to have him around," he said.

"For the younger players and Anthony, you’d expect them to score more goals and not put all the pressure on Romelu for the first season. Marcus (Rashford) has to score more, Anthony too, and all these players will benefit from the work of the team, but it wasn’t consistent last season.

"Anthony has reached the level of Manchester United and the French national team, so I think he will answer the critics and improve his game to perform at least as the same level as the first season. When you reach that level, when you then have a difficult time, you bounce back because you are a competitor."

"The potential is there," he added. "Yeah, it was a disappointing second season, but with young players sometimes it is difficult to get the consistency.

"I would love to see him back to his best, with a happy face and ready to work hard. Sometimes he just switches off from the game and you can't expect the manager to give you a second chance if you do that because the expectation and the pressure that the club is on, you have to be fully focused for 90 minutes.

"I think Anthony knows that and he has been told and hopefully he will learn from that."

United are currently in California for their pre-season tour and play LA Galaxy in their first match on Sunday.

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