Erik ten Hag defends Anthony Martial and fires warning to Man Utd youngster | Football

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Erik ten Hag insists Anthony Martial still has a future at Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

Erik ten Hag insists Anthony Martial can still have an important role to play at Manchester United despite ongoing concerns over his fitness record.

The 27-year-old featured prominently during the first half of the season but his progress has been hindered by a series of injury problems.

Martial has featured just four times since the turn of the year and has missed the last 12 matches in all competitions.

Ten Hag is again set to be without Martial for Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham but insists the Frenchman could still have an impact between now and the end of the season.

‘I don’t think it is the right moment if that would be the case,’ said the United boss. “I believe in him. Every time he is available, he really gave a good contribution to the team performance.

‘The level of the team is upgraded the moment he is available. We are just working with him to get fit and to be available.’

Asked if the Frenchman should be prepared to push his body a bit more, Ten Hag said: ‘Every person is different, so you have to treat everyone differently. This process you have to take really carefully. I do everything to get him available.’

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Winger Facundo Pellistri, meanwhile, made his first start for the club in Seville after a lively European debut in the home leg.

The 21-year-old Uruguayan again impressed and could be given more chances with Alejandro Garnacho joining the injured list, while Antony is a doubt for the game against Fulham through illness.

Ten Hag sent a warning to Pellistri that he must seize every chance he gets if he is to carve out a future for himself at Old Trafford.

‘You have to deserve it and you have to gather it by yourself,’ said the Dutchman.

‘We will help him with the culture, the way of play, the coaches, really working hard for them. But the players have to take their chances, they have to deserve their chances by performing every day on and off the pitch.

‘He has the abilities to do it, like others coming up from the youth like Garnacho, like Kobbie Mainoo. Pellistri is also one of them, and there are more who can do it. But you have to contribute to the team.

‘Manchester United is not a place where we can have the patience to try one for 10 games – you have to perform.’

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