Man Utd star Anthony Martial ‘begged’ to start Manchester derby despite fitness concerns and missing training

ANTHONY MARTIAL “begged” to start in the Manchester derby.

The French attacker was given the nod by manager Erik ten Hag for the Red Devilswin at Old Trafford.

AFPMan United boss Erik ten Hag revealed that Anthony Martial ‘begged’ to start the derby clash[/caption]

APHowever Martial could not finish the game as he was not 100 per cent at half time[/caption]

But Martial was forced to be substituted at half-time for Brazilian winger Antony after picking up a knock.

Ten Hag has since admitted that he did want the 27-year-old to get injured and that he had missed training due to concerns over his fitness.

The Red Devils boss said: “I hoped to avoid that he was getting injured but he was complaining.

“That’s why he also didn’t train in the week and was a question mark [for the derby].

“We decided — and he decided as well — to start. He begged to start.

“I knew the start would be so important in this game and he is really good at pressing and he is a really big element in our pressing.

“But I needed to re-evaluate at half-time as you saw he was not capable to go 100 per cent and this is what you need.

“And also to avoid him getting injured so we took him off but it also had a negative impact on our game after half-time.”

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Despite early season knocks and niggles, the attacker has been key in United’s recent good form.

He has only missed one of the last ten games, in which he has netted twice.

This run of form has helped the club climb up the table to fourth place, only one point behind second-placed Manchester City.

If Martial is unable to play in United’s next game, which is against Crystal Palace, then a debut could be handed to loan signing Wout Weghorst.

However, Ten Hag was not giving anything away, as he said: “I have to think about that [Weghorst featuring if Martial is out].

“First, settle down after this game [Man City], make the right conclusions and then we will make a clear plan for Palace.

“Of course, I know a lot about Palace, we faced them also in pre-season and know how their team is, but the total plan I don’t have now. I didn’t construct it until now.

“So from this point on, we can construct the plan and prepare the team in the right way.”

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