Louis van Gaal has admitted that even he is “surprised” by the immediate impact Anthony Martial has had at Manchester United.
The French forward has emerged as United’s accidental main man since joining from Ligue Un side Monaco in the summer.
Martial became the most expensive teenager in history after United signed him for £36.7million on transfer deadline day in the summer, with the 19-year-old expected to integrated slowly into the first team.
But the 20-year-old has scored nine goals in 29 games at the club, becoming their second-top goalscorer this season behind captain Wayne Rooney.
Manager Van Gaal admits that even he has found Martial’s immediate impact “very much surprising”, with the striker having scored against Stoke on Tuesday.
“You come from the French league, come to the Premier League and you do this at 20 then you have a lot of potential to give but then I am the manager not any more at that time when he is at his best,” Van Gaal said.
Martial impressed again as a wide forward at Old Trafford against Stoke, with chances in his favoured central position few and far between for the French international so far.
“That [starting centrally] is dependent on the shape of the team, his fellow players,” Van Gaal added. “He likes to play in a striker’s position more than where he is now playing but when I need him to play on the other side. When he plays like this I am not changing. Same as Rooney, same as Mata. I am not changing.
“They were team goals and team goals I love the most – superb, superb. I’m also happy with individual goals but these were a team. The finishing was also very good.”