Anthony Martial denies he refused to play as his Manchester United career turns sour

The Frenchman didn't want to be involved against Aston Villa on Saturday, according to interim manager Ralf Rangnick

Manchester United's Anthony Martial applauds fan as he walks off the pitch at half-time, during the English Premier League match between Manchester United and Everton, at Old Trafford.
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Anthony Martial's Manchester United career appears to be coming to an acrimonious end.

The striker was not involved in the 2-2 Premier League draw with Aston Villa on Saturday evening - with interim manager Ralf Rangnick claiming the Frenchman refused to be part of the squad.

However, Martial has taken to social media to deny Rangnick's claims.

What did Rangnick say about Martial?

He said the 26-year-old did not want to travel to Villa Park with the rest of the squad as he is pushing for a January exit from United.

“Yes, he didn’t want to be in the squad,” Rangnick said.

“He would have been in the squad normally but he didn’t want to and that’s the reason why he was not travelling with us yesterday.”

United took to the match with only eight substitutes - including two goalkeepers - when nine are permitted.

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And how has Martial responded?

As Premier League footballers do these days, he has posted a message on Instagram.

He wrote: “I will never refuse to play a match for Man United. I’ve been here for 7 years and I never disrespected and will never disrespect the club and the fans.”

Anthony Martial's Instagram response.

He wants to leave Manchester United, right?

Yes, it was confirmed by the club last month that Martial was seeking an exit from Old Trafford.

Rangnick said the pair had "spoken at length" about the situation.

“He explained to me he’s been at Manchester United now for the last seven years and he feels it’s the right time for a change, to go somewhere else.

“I think in a way this is understandable, I could follow his thoughts but on the other hand, it’s also important to see the situation of the club.

“We have Covid times, we have three competitions in which we still have high ambitions and want to be as successful as we can be.”

Martial became the world’s most expensive teenager when United signed him from Monaco in September 2015.

How has Martial performed this season?

Like for many of his teammates, it hasn't been a great season so far for Martial, whose contract expires in June 2024.

He has started just two games in the Premier League and made five appearances as a substitute. His only goal came against Everton.

His opportunities have been limited amid the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho in attack and he's been linked with a move to the likes of Barcelona and Newcastle United.

There were high hopes for Martial at United, but he has never quite fulfilled his potential despite 79 goals during his time at the club.

Updated: January 16, 2022, 7:58 AM