Anthony Martial faces a battle to convince Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that he has a long-term future at Manchester United.
Solskjaer tore into Martial after United’s draw with Chelsea nine days ago after the Frenchman barely joined in the pre-match warm-up when he was named as a substitute.
It’s understood the United boss was particularly upset because he had granted permission for Martial to return to France after the game for several days due to family reasons.
Solskjaer sent on Alexis Sanchez ahead of Martial against Chelsea, and the 23-year-old winger was then missing from the squad altogether for Sunday’s draw at Huddersfield.
The official reason for his absence at the John Smith’s Stadium was given as an injury, and Martial has been complaining of a bad back.
However Solskjaer and his No 2 Mike Phelan are believed to have grown increasingly exasperated over Martial’s attitude since he signed a new long-term contract at the end of January.
Jose Mourinho wanted to sell Martial last summer against the wishes of United chief Ed Woodward, and Solskjaer has similar misgivings about the player’s temperament.
I was at the game and watched Martial warm up. He couldn’t be arsed and just stood there for ages with his arms behind his back.
It is highly unlikely United would consider offloading Martial at the end of this season when so many others are heading for the exit and there is already a question mark hanging over the future of Paul Pogba and Romelu Lukaku.
However, Martial will be warned to raise his game and show a better attitude or Solskjaer will look to sell him as he embarks on a major overhaul of squad he inherited from Mourinho.
Woodward would still be reluctant to sacrifice the former Monaco player who cost £36million, rising to a possible £58m, when he moved to Old Trafford four years ago, but United’s executive vice-chairman is expected to back Solskjaer’s judgement if the manager finally runs out of patience with Martial.
A number of other players will be shipped out this summer after the draw at Huddersfield meant United will fail to finish in the top-four for the fourth time in six years. Pogba is being strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid after telling friends that he has no wish to stay at United, and Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorello has been touting him to a number of Italian clubs.
There is also uncertainty surrounding goalkeeper David de Gea after the goalkeeper’s dramatic loss of form coincided with an impasse in negotiations over a new contract and interest from Paris Saint-Germain.