When a player plays well then he gets a reward and Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho is considering using rejuvenated frontman Anthony Martial in a more central position against Juventus on Wednesday night.
United head into their Champions League clash against the Italian champions as second favourites against a side who beat them 1-0 at Old Trafford last time out thanks to a Paulo Dybala competition.
And with the out-of-sorts Romelu Lukaku nursing a knock that could also see him miss Sunday’s derby against Manchester City, Martial – who has netted five goals in his last five appearances – could be used as a makeshift No 9.
Mourinho also has the option of playing with Marcus Rashford or Alexis Sanchez in the role, but the selection of Martial as his central striker – as touted by the Manchester Evening News – will complete a remarkable turnaround in the France forward’s fortunes at Old Trafford.
Just a few months ago it seemed a matter of when rather than if the talented forward would be heading for pastures new, with questions lingering over the 23-year-old’s happiness and relationship with the United manager.
Martial’s agent Philippe Lamboley said in June that his client wanted to leave Old Traffordand it is understood Mourinho was willing to sell the forward in the summer –a time when the Portuguese fined him for the way he left their American pre-season tour for the birth of his second child.
Reports have bubbled along about the forward’s future with his contract expiring next summer and, while United are almost certain to trigger the one-year extension clause, his selection as a central striker will complete what many feel is a huge U-turn in the player’s Old Trafford career.
Mourinho stressed at the weekend just how important Martial had become in his thinking and why he now hopes the player will commit to a new contract at Old Trafford.
“I don’t belong to the discussions of contracts,” the United boss said.
“To be honest, I don’t even know their contracts in the sense of numbers and I’m really happy with that, of not participating in these kinds of discussions.
“So, obviously, I hope they will agree. Obviously, I hope.” we too hope so.