The 1999 treble winner discussed the Frenchman’s form in the 2019-20 season and feels he should have scored 20+ in previous campaigns.
Andy Cole says he is not sure what Anthony Martial’s favoured position is, and has called on the Manchester United forward to “show more desire and passion” on the pitch.
United snapped Martial up as a teenage prospect while he was on the books of Monaco in 2015, forking out £54 million ($69m) to lure him to Old Trafford.
The Frenchman has since recorded 70 goals and 37 assists in 217 appearances in all competitions, but only showed glimpses of his frightening potential under Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
Martial has stepped his game up another level since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s arrival as head coach, having been trusted to lead the line following the departure of Romelu Lukaku.
The former Monaco star has broken the 20-goal barrier for the first time in his career this season, and has been the most prolific frontman in the Premier League since last month’s return from lockdown.
The 24-year-old has found the net six times in his last seven top-flight outings, while serving as the focal point in a United side now on the verge of a top-four finish.
Cole isn’t getting too carried away with Martial’s recent record, though, as he believes the France international has taken far too long to start justifying his hefty price tag.
“We all get caught up in the debate about Martial,” the United legend told The Athletic as he watched United’s FA Cup semi-final defeat to Chelsea.
“I’m not sure where he wants to play. He’s played well this season as a centre-forward and has scored more goals this season than any other but he should have scored more than 20 in more than one season.
“He came for big money and he’s very talented. He has to show more desire and passion at times. He’s got good feet and a lovely first touch.
“He’s got blistering pace too but you don’t see it enough. He wants the ball to his feet but he should mix it up a bit more.”
Martial had to be content with a substitute appearance during United’s 3-1 defeat to Chelsea on Sunday, but will likely return to Solskjaer’s starting XI for a crucial midweek clash with West Ham.
The Red Devils can guarantee Champions League qualification if they earn earn at least a point against West Ham and then avoid defeat to Leicester City on the final day of the season.