Erik ten Hag has revealed Anthony Martial has suffered an injury setback and it’s unclear whether he’ll play for Manchester United again prior to the World Cup break.
The forward began the season with a hamstring injury before sustaining an Achilles problem upon his return to the team. Martial recovered from the latter at the start of the month but managed less than 90 minutes of football across three games before injury befell him again, with the Frenchman forced off during the 2-1 win over Everton.
Martial has subsequently missed the last five matches for the Red Devils, a number that is only set to increase due to the ongoing back issue. Speaking ahead of Sunday’s game against West Ham United, Ten Hag said he ‘hopes’ the 26-year-old will return in time before the midseason hiatus, but remains unsure.
“He’s making progress, he’s outside, he’s working there, he’s on the pitch and we’re waiting for his step back in team training,” the Dutchman explained. “He had a [recent] setback [on the injury], as he fell out against Everton with his back.
“He’s had some injuries, it’s really frustrating for us but also for him. We’ve seen him play well in pre-season. He’s had less minutes but he’s scored already three goals.
“Against Everton, he had an important role with the first goal, his assist for Antony. It would be really good to have him back because he can make the difference, he can score goals, but also linking up he’s really important and his pressing is really good.”
With Martial out, Ten Hag has been forced to select Cristiano Ronaldo or Marcus Rashford up front for most of the season. The latter is best suited to the left wing while Ronaldo has struggled for regular goals this term, and often the team have looked better in his absence.
Therefore, the United boss was asked whether he will look to recruit a centre-forward in the new year. “I think at this moment we’re not focusing on that,” he replied.
“At this moment we’re working to develop our team, develop our attacking department, our attacking game. We have strikers and we have good ones, we’re working to progress on that.”