France coach Didier Deschamps has challenged Anthony Martial to show more consistency following his subdued start to the season with Manchester United.
Martial proved a rare bright note in a United side much-maligned for their style of play under Louis van Gaal last season, scoring 11 Premier League goals in his debut campaign after arriving from Monaco last September.
However, the 20-year-old has thus far struggled to hit those standards under new manager Jose Mourinho, failing to score in three league fixtures or the Community Shield victory over Leicester City, although he has tallied two assists.
Martial has now linked up with France as they prepare to move on from losing the Euro 2016 final to Portugal, with Les Bleus facing Italy in a friendly on Thursday before starting their World Cup qualifying campaign against Belarus five days later.
And Deschamps urged Martial to start showing his undoubted quality over a prolonged period of time.
“Anthony started the season very early. He’s already played a lot in a system that is slightly different to ours,” Deschamps said of Martial, who only started one of France’s seven matches at Euro 2016.
“He needs to be more consistent, despite his qualities. He can make the difference in a game because he’s a fast and powerful player who can score and assist. At this age, even if he has already proved a lot, he has to go through that stage. He has to maintain a certain level of performance for some weeks, some months.
“He’s played a lot, he’s the one who played the most last season and that’s why he was a little unfit at the European Championship. He has a lot of qualities. I’ve already told him that so he is aware, but he must push himself a little harder sometimes.
“It’s his state of mind. He’s like that so he needs to battle a little with himself. He needs to get stronger in order to maintain his level on a long run.”