Manchester United great Ryan Giggs has urged Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford to “step up” and become key players for the club next season.
Neither forward has been a consistent starter under manager Jose Mourinho and they scored just 16 goals between them in the Premier League in 2017-18.
Martial, in particular, has been linked with a move away from United, with Juventus said to be interested, and Mourinho’s displeasure with their performances in the recent loss to Brighton and Hove Albion have fuelled those rumours.
Giggs feels they have suffered from competing with Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez but he wants them to become key components of an “exciting” United team next season.
“As a United fan, I want to see exciting football and Antony Martial and Marcus Rashford are exciting players,” he told Sky Sports. “They found it difficult this year with Romelu Lukaku playing centre forward and then with the addition of Alexis Sanchez, there’s a lot of options.
“What I said when we bought Alexis was that it could only be good to have a quality player coming to add to that competitive edge, so the likes of Martial and Rashford have to step up to be in the first team.”
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United finished 19 points behind champions Manchester City this season but Giggs thinks only one or two clever moves in the transfer market are needed to close the gap to their neighbours.
“Overall, United have got a good squad so I think it is probably about making a couple of marquee signings where they are going to really make a difference and bridge that gap with City,” he said.
“They’ve got some decent firepower and six or seven options in the centre-half position. Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young have done so well, but can they do it over 50 games again and again? They perhaps need strengthening there.”
Giggs, a 13-time Premier League champion with United, concedes City have had a remarkable season but he does not expect 2018-19 to be so one-sided.
“You’ve got to recognise what City have done this year, they’ve been quality, but to do it again is going to be difficult,” added the Wales boss.
“I think we were the last team to defend a Premier League a decade ago, so it proves how difficult it is. Chelsea didn’t do it, Leicester City didn’t do it and City didn’t do it, so it’s not easy because everyone wants to beat the champions.
“Everyone also knows what City more or less do. Yes, they change their formation and tactics and they’ve got a great coach, but also the players have got to get back up to that level after a World Cup, so there are a lot of permutations come the first game of next season.
“You have to just keep improving and you can’t just keep thinking it will be as easy the next season, because it won’t be.”
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