Chris Smalling believes Anthony Martial offers a high-risk attacking style that Manchester United have been sorely lacking until this season.
Martial joined from Monaco on transfer deadline day for a staggering £36million fee, which could rise to over £50m depending on bonuses.
The 19-year-old has enjoyed an explosive start to his Old Trafford career, however, scoring four times in five appearances and delivering a strong display as the lone striker in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Sunderland.
And centre-back Smalling has hailed the way he has impacted upon United’s style of play this season, telling their official matchday programme: “If you could ask for a moment to announce yourself on the world stage, it would be in a massive game like Liverpool at home [when he scored on his debut].
“It was a great moment and a lot of people took notice of how well he dribbled at players, how direct he was and how he took his goal. That’s something we’ve needed this season.
“In that snippet against Liverpool, you get a real idea of how he is. He is one who is very direct, he is willing to take on players and he is willing to take on that risk. I think, in the final third, it is an area where you can take that risk because you can’t take it at the back. He looks a very sharp player.”
Smalling has been equally impressed by Matteo Darmian’s form following his move from Torino in July.
“He has come into the club and he hasn’t needed any time to settle in,” added the 25-year-old. “He has literally hit the ground running and that is full credit to him, to be able to adjust to a different league and a different culture.
“He has improved the team in such a short space of time. There’s a long way to go, but he’s made a good start.”