Golden Boy Martial to avoid becoming another failed prospect


Lee Gormley | December 21, 2015

Martial can become true Man Utd star

The coveted Golden Boy award arrived in the hands of yet another Manchester United player this year, as Old Trafford prospect Anthony Martial lifted the honour for his early career achievements, and he has the talent to avoid becoming another failed winner.

Such a prestigious prize is given each year to the most promising player under the age of 21 who plying his trade in Europe’s top divisions and is voted for by journalists from across 30 different major newspapers throughout the continent.

The 20-year-old Frenchman has become the latest in a long line of talented youngsters to have claimed the prize, with elite names such as Lionel Messi (2005), Cesc Fabregas (2006), Mario Gotze (2011), Isco (2012) and Paul Pogba (2013) all former victors.

Frenchman on pathway to success

Martial, who is 40/1 with Coral to finish the season as Premier League top scorer, also becomes the third ever Red Devils player to earn such an achievement, the only club to hold more than one winner, but will look to avoid another list of underwhelming prospects.

Despite the trophy having been lifted by the likes of England’s all-time marksman Rooney and four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Messi, it has also ended up in the hands of faltering former starlets that provide a cautionary tale of reading too much into the award.

As well as these illustrious winners, Martial follows the likes of United’s previous Brazilian flop Anderson (2008), misfiring Sao Paulo loanee Alexandre Pato (2009) and controversial Liverpool misfit Mario Balotelli (2010), proving that such a feat does not always guarantee future career success.

Instant impact at Old Trafford

After arriving at Old Trafford from Porto with a huge reputation in his homeland, Anderson started brightly in new surroundings but swiftly struggled, becoming an eventual misfit, despite a host of major silverware honours. Meanwhile, Pato was once regarded as the prince of AC Milan, though is now vying to revive his career in Brazil, with Balotelli also currently trying to rekindle his form during a loan stint with the Rossoneri.

However, Martial, who is the most expensive teenager in history, has already proved in his impressive short time at Old Trafford that he is more than capable of avoiding such a familiarly underwhelming path to failure.

The France international frontman helped Monaco finish third last term in Ligue 1 before earning a big-money move to United, spectacularly striking the winner over bitter rivals Liverpool on his debut, becoming their beacon of hope in an indifferent campaign so far.

France stardom beckons for Martial

After a blistering start under Louis van Gaal at club level, Martial also made his international bow and could yet be a pivotal player for Didier Deschamps’ France side, as they prepare to host Euro 2016 next summer, which Les Bleus are 11/4 favourites to win.

With the likes of stuttering Samba stars Anderson and Pato having previously been rewarded with the Golden Boy award, such an achievement doesn’t guarantee a successful long-term career, but high-profile names of Rooney, Fabregas and Messi show it can highlight genuine world-class talent.

As Martial possesses a truly calm temperament and great composure at such a promising age and early stage of his Red Devils career, the young Frenchman is likely to fall into the latter category after such a rapid rise to prominence in England’s top tier division.


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