Manchester United duo Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are “nowhere near” their full potential and can both become 20-goal-a-season forwards, reckons legendary ex-Red Devils striker Andy Cole.
Rashford scored five Premier League goals in December and the 23-year-old stands on seven goals and seven assists from 15 matches.
The England international is looking to surpass the 17-goal tally he managed last term, to which he added nine assists, from 31 appearances.
Martial also notched 17 strikes in England’s top flight in 2019-20 but after 11 games this season the Frenchman only had a solitary goal, which came against Sheffield United, before he headed in from Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross in the first half of Friday’s clash with Aston Villa to double his tally in the league.
But Cole still wants to see the pair further improve their strike rates as United look to contend with Liverpool for the Premier League title this season.
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There is real belief that United can contend for the league this year despite having started slowly and suffered disappointment in Europe thanks to their recent improvements, which have seen them climb up the table.
Cole believes vitally important to any potential triumph, which would be the club’s first since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in 2013, will be Martial and Rashford.
Martial has been Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s regular first-choice frontman in the past 18 months, although now has competition for his spot from Edinson Cavani, while Rashford is a surefire starter on the left wing.
Reflecting on Martial’s lack of goals this term, Cole declared: “It is [a bit of a puzzle] because he’s super talented.
“He gets in great positions but sometimes his finishing is a little bit erratic, he hits the goalkeeper and he doesn’t make the right decisions at times.
“But he’s got all the talent in the world. I genuinely do believe as well he’s just like Marcus and he’s nowhere near reached his full potential as of yet.
“He’s got to keep persevering and hopefully go on a good run. For me personally he’s another one who could get himself 20 goals a season easily.”
Cole also said of Rashford: “I think he’s still got more, I’m going to be brutally honest with you. I think he’s got more.
“He’s a very, very talented player as we all know, five goals in December speaks volumes. But I do genuinely believe this kid can get 20-25 goals a season easily. He has the talent to do just that.
“If you watch some of his finishes this season, they’ve been fantastic. He’s definitely got a hell of a lot more to come.
“When you’re talking about the six-yard box, you can get 10 or 12 goals a season from tap-ins there. If he adds those to his game he’s up to 20 goals a season.
“When you’re at a club like Manchester United trying to win major honours one of your boys has got to get to 20 goals a season definitely.”
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Solskjaer meanwhile recently backed Martial to enjoy a strong 2021 and said: “Anthony has made some important contributions lately – assists, he’s scored goals, and he’s getting fitter, as he showed against Leeds.
“And he knows that I’m going to be on to him about it now. His running stats from that game sets a new standard for him, which I want to see more often from him.
“He’s always going to have the quality. Maybe his confidence was bruised a little by what happened early on in the season with the red card [vs Tottenham], and he’s had some criticism.
“But he’s going to get better and better from now on. When we get Marcus Rashord, Mason Greenwood and Anthony firing on all cylinders together, we’ll be an even bigger threat to other teams.”
The Norwegian coach also said of Rashford: “Both as a player and as a person Marcus has been absolutely brilliant.
“We are very proud of him as a human being as well as a player. His stats say everything about his qualities.
“He was always a threat and creates chances for others. I am very pleased with Marcus. He is always there or thereabouts with scoring goals. He knows he had a couple of other chances but that is football for you.”
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