Throughout the history of world football, one of the most accomplished countries in major competitions is France. The national team has won the UEFA European Championship twice, as well as winning the FIFA World Cup on two occasions as well.
The French national team most recently won the World Cup in 2018 by defeating Croatia to win their first major trophy since the 2000 Euros. The country is full of talented players, and this current generation is set to continue their winning ways.
Going forward, France has plenty of elite attackers that deserve to be in the squad. In the World Cup two years ago, manager Didier Deschamps started Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, and Kylian Mbappé for a majority of the tournament.
With plenty of other quality attackers waiting for their opportunity in the national team, one particular Frenchman in the Premier League is in fantastic form. Anthony Martial has played extremely well for Manchester United since the return of the league; helping his club climb up the table in hopes of getting a top four finish.
Better Performances Under New Manager:
The 24-year-old forward was part of the Euro 2016 squad, but was not included in the squad at the 2018 World Cup. With the Euros pushed back to 2021 due to the COVID-19 breakout, Martial will have the opportunity to prove his talent to Deschamps.
Since joining Manchester United from AS Monaco in the summer of 2015, Martial has shown a lack of consistency in the final third. The Frenchman struggled under managers Louis van Gaal and José Mourinho. His most productive season in the league was the 2015-2016 season when he scored 11 goals and had four assists.
Since Ole Gunnar Solskjær took over the team in the middle of December 2018, Martial has shown more confidence, which led to better performances from the French forward. Martial has had his best season in a United shirt with 17 goals and five assists in the 19/20 league season so far.
Since the return of the league in June, we have seen even more from Martial and the club’s attack. The combination of Marcus Rashfrod, Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Paul Pogba, and Martial has proved to be too much against most of the teams in the league.
In seven games since the beginning of Project Restart, the team has picked up 17 points and scored 19 goals in the stretch of games. Martial has been a big part of that production by scoring six goals including his first professional hat-trick in a 3-0 win of Sheffield United.
If the forward can continue to contribute to plenty of goals for his club, he will help United return to the top of the league and prove he needs to be in the French squad.
Olivier Giroud’s Age:
One big reason why Martial will have a great chance to start for France going forward is the age of their current target man. Giroud is currently 33-years-old, and his time in the French squad is coming to an end.
The current Chelsea forward is not the most talented forward the country can offer, but his ability to hold up the ball and allow the likes of Griezmann and Mbappé to get in behind is something not many forwards can do.
Martial does not suit the role as a target man, but his speed and creativity is something the team could utilize to their advantage. With the squad not having another forward that plays similarly to Giroud, the team will be forced to play a different style, which will benefit Martial significantly.
Poor Form From Griezmann:
Another reason why Martial could find himself in the starting lineup at the 2021 Euros is the recent poor form from FC Barcelona attacker Antoine Griezmann. After five successful seasons at Spanish side Atlético Madrid, the forward joined Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez to form what looked like a potent front three.
Griezmann’s 2019/2020 season has been one of his worst in his career by having only 19 goal contributions in 46 appearances across all competitions. The forward was forced to play out of position as a left winger, which brings up the question of why he ever wanted to join the club in the first place.
This poor form from the Barcelona forward could give Martial another position in the French team that he can occupy. In the national team, Griezmann has been used centrally as an attacker alongside Giroud.
Griezmann has played an influential part in the French national team over the last few years, but his struggles for his club could give others the opportunity to take his spot in the team. If the forward decides to stay at Barcelona and continue to suffer from playing out of position, Martial will have the opportunity to overtake him in the squad.
Overall Consensus: Over the course of the last 18 months, we have seen the best out of Anthony Marital under Solskjær. If he can continue to show progression at United and be a significant part of the success at the club, it will be too difficult for Deschamps to not give him his chance for France in future competitions.
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