Anthony Martial has displayed consistency that is “not normal” for such a young player, according to Manchester United assistant manager Ryan Giggs.
The 20-year-old forward has enjoyed an impressive first campaign at Old Trafford following his move from Monaco in a deal that could eventually be worth £58million, scoring 11 goals in 37 appearances.
Martial’s exploits are not what Giggs is used to seeing from youthful players whose displays are often up and down in their initial years with the first-team, such as Cristiano Ronaldo when he first arrived from Sporting CP.
“Anthony has been a breath of fresh air,” the United number two told the Daily Telegraph. “He came in for big money and he has been so consistent this year.
“It puts pressure on other players who aren’t as consistent because it is not normal for a young player. They can be brilliant for two or three games and then it will dip, but it doesn’t happen very often.
“You look at Cristiano Ronaldo. For 18 months he was indifferent. Now, phew, he scores every week. People just mature at different times. It’s up to the individual to work hard and the cream usually rises to the top if you work hard and you have got the quality.”
Giggs is delighted that United have been able to blood so many young players this season, but does think teenage talents are under more pressure than they may have been in his early playing days.
“The great thing about United is there is always a pathway through to the first team,” he said.
“I don’t think it was easier to get there [in my teenage years] but it was easier to stay there, which is always the tough thing.
“Loss of form, the exposure, they [the public] want to find out everything about you, people noticing you in the street. All those things you can’t be prepared for – it is always hard to get into the first team as a young player but now to stay in it is probably more difficult.
“It has changed in a lot of ways but it is the same in a lot of ways. It has changed in regards to exposure. There’s a lot of pressure on them because, after one or two games, everyone sees the goals, everyone sees highlights. That’s different.
“What still doesn’t change is that you have to go out on the training pitch or on match day and you have to do it. There is that single principle of playing well in the youth team, playing well in the reserves.
“If someone gets injured I always say to the young players, ‘If you get a chance or you get pulled in late, take your chance – it might be your last one. If you are training with the first team, make an impression. Do something. If you do that you will catch the manager’s eye and maybe if he is struggling for subs, anything can happen’. It’s crazy what can happen.”