The France star limped out of Les Bleus’ Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier clash with Kazakhstan last month and looks set to miss the next few months
Manchester United have been handed a major blow ahead of the run-in to their campaign after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that Anthony Martial is expected to miss the rest of the season through injury.
The France international limped out of Les Bleus’ Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifier clash with Kazakhstan last month with what was initially hoped to be a minor knock that would keep him in contention.
However, the striker is now set for an extended spell on the sidelines with a sprained knee, delivering not only a hit to United’s hopes in both the Premier League and Europa League but also the attacker’s chances of making the rescheduled Euro 2020 this summer.
What did Solskjaer say?
“Unfortunately, he sprained his knee with France,” the Norwegian told MUTV ahead of his side’s return to Premier League action against Brighton & Hove Albion. “It’s always when they go away on internationals. You can keep your fingers crossed and hope they come back fit.”
Solskjaer added that he was pleased to see Martial’s fellow countryman Paul Pogba come through the international break. stating: “Paul has played in all three games, 30, 60, 90 minutes, so that was a boost for us.
“[But] losing Anthony for what might be the rest of the season is very disappointing, especially when reports from there [France] was that it wasn’t anything serious but it looks a bad one.”
The 48-year-old further expanded on Martial’s injury to BT Sport pre-match, admitting that Edison Cavani’s return to fitness was at least something of a silver lining for the Red Devils.
“It’s good timing,” he added “He has been working hard to get his fitness and luckily we have him back so that’s a positive.
“When there are international breaks you never know. Some of them used it to stay here and it worked out. A couple have played through the pain and some we have lost. I’m happy we have enough to fill the bench.”
Martial faces race against time
It is a cruel blow for the former Monaco man, who will miss not only United’s charge for another Europa League crown – and maiden trophy under Solskjaer – but now faces a nervous wait to see if he will make the cut for Didier Deschamps’ squad this summer.
The 25-year-old was a member of France’s squad five years ago at Euro 2016, and was an extra-time substitute in the final as Les Bleus came up short against Portugal.
But he missed out on selection two years later for the Russia 2018 World Cup, instead making only the reserve list after he was displaced in the United pecking order by Alexis Sanchez, effectively robbing him of a place in the winning squad.
Now, he could miss out again as France aim to make it two major tournament victories on the trot.