Gary Neville: Anthony Martial has transformed Manchester United’s attack

Neville: Martial has transformed United’s attack

28/09/2015 at 21:15Updated 28/09/2015 at 21:39

Gary Neville has credited Anthony Martial with transforming Manchester United’s attack.

United were widely ridiculed for splashing out £36 million on the 19-year-old – a fee that could rise to £58m – with many labelling it a panic buy.

But the young Frenchman has settled superbly, scoring four goals in five appearances.

Neville expressed his surprise at how quickly Martial has adapted to the rigours of the Premier League in the wake of United’s 3-0 win over Sunderland – a victory that left them top of the table.

"He's made a big difference," Neville said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. "He has transformed the front end of the team.

Sunderland's Lee Cattermole in action with Manchester United's Anthony Martial

Sunderland's Lee Cattermole in action with Manchester United's Anthony MartialReuters

"When he signed we knew he was going to be an exciting signing but we didn't think he would settle in so quickly.

"I watched him on Saturday and what actually shocked me in the game was the elements of the game I did not expect.

"He was playing against John O'Shea and Younes Kaboul, both six-foot-two, both strong lads, both physical. I was expecting him to get pushed off the ball."

The former United right-back also admitted he was unaware Martial could play centrally.

"I was expecting Manchester United to have signed a winger-forward, but what they have actually signed looks like a number nine - someone who can lead the line, and, if he's not scoring goals and not running in behind, provide a point for attacks. I never expected that."