France head coach Didier Deschamps believes Anthony Martial is “back at a very, very good level” after hinting at a strained relationship between the Manchester United forward and Jose Mourinho.
Martial was among those omitted from France’s 23-man squad that went on to seal 2018 World Cup glory after finding his opportunities in the second half of last season limited by the arrival of Alexis Sanchez to United.
He seemed to be on the verge of exiting Old Trafford last summer but he remained and has flourished under Mourinho’s successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the last couple of months.
Deschamps suggested part of the reason for Martial’s malaise could be blamed on a number of factors, one of which could be the bond he had with former United manager Mourinho.
Speaking after France were honoured with the Team of the Year gong at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco, Deschamps said: “It’s always difficult to know what can happen but all players can have a period when they are less successful on the pitch.
“It’s certainly related to confidence, it can be related to the relationship they have with their coach. It happens every season, for all players.
“Anthony Martial is back at a very, very good level.
“He’s often decisive. He had some physical problems too. He is a player who was with us at Euro 2016, he was not there for the World Cup but he is one of the players we regularly follow.
“He is a young player who is gaining maturity also because he started very early in Manchester United and with the French national team too.
“There are always difficult moments but in terms of potential, he has everything you need to be at the highest level.”
Deschamps is unconcerned by N’Golo Kante being shifted away from his favoured holding role in midfield to a position higher up the field by Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri in an attempt to accommodate Jorginho.
Deschamps added: “No, it happens with other players (to play in different positions with the club and the national team).
“I saw that his coach preferred to see him in a more offensive position because he has a player, Jorginho, who plays in this position a little lower.
“N’Golo Kante is able to play in several positions. He is a modern player, a modern midfielder.
“When he is with me in the French national team, he has a great importance in this lower position. He is very important defensively and in the organisation of the game.
“Each coach has his formation, a different vision but I’m not worried about that. It’s rather a good thing that players are versatile and can play in different formations or positions.”
– The Laureus World Sports Awards celebrate the most remarkable men and women from the world of sport along with their achievements from the previous calendar year. The Awards also showcase the work of Laureus Sport for Good, a charity which uses the power of sport to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage.
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