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Martial is making the most of limited chances for Manchester United

ESPN's Alison Bender and Mark Ogden discuss whether they think Manchester United are the strongest team in the Premier League this season.

Anthony Martial has been on the pitch for 25 Premier League minutes so far this season. In that time, he has scored twice -- once against West Ham and once against Swansea -- while Manchester United have netted five times overall.

Last November, after omitting Martial from the squad to play Feyenoord four days after starting him against Arsenal,Jose Mourinho warned the French forward he was not taking the opportunities offered to him.

"You have one opportunity, you have two, you have three," said the United manager. "If you don't bite then somebody comes and takes the bait."

Mourinho can not accuse the 21-year-old of missing his chances so far this season: Martial has had three shots and scored with two.

After consecutive 4-0 wins, it might not be enough to earn him a starting spot against Leicester on Saturday evening but, after a summer of speculation about his future, it is almost certain now that Martial will be a United player when the transfer deadline passes next week.

Not even Inter's willingness to accept him on loan as a makeweight for Ivan Perisic has convinced Mourinho to move him on.

"For me it's simple," said Mourinho on Saturday. "I can't play Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and EFL Cup with 11 players, I need a squad."

Martial will have to wait his turn, but it's coming.

His start to the season will be no surprise to those who watched him toy with Real Madrid's defence in Santa Clara in July, when he skipped past three defenders to set up Jesse Lingard for a tap in.

In a Los Angeles hotel ballroom during the summer, Martial's French compatriot Mikael Silvestre was asked whether the forward could be as good as Kylian Mbappe.

"Definitely," was the former United defender's reply. "Every time he touches the ball, even out here in training when it's early doors, you can sense the danger. He can go left or right, and beat you with speed."

Manchester United's Anthony Martial has scored with two of his three shots this season.

It was that ability, showcased with his debut goal against Liverpool in front of the Stretford End two years ago, that got everyone so excited about Martial. It is still very early but, this season, it seems to be back.

Watch Romelu Lukaku's goal against Swansea again and you will see Martial pick up the ball outside the penalty area and run through a crowd of four defenders. Henrikh Mkhitaryan took the credit for the assist with a clever pass to Lukaku, but Martial had just as much involvement.

It is just one example of the danger Silvestre was talking about and makes even more strange the fact that, with one substitute remaining in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid, Mourinho decided to leave Martial on the bench.

Asked about Martial at his weekly news conference on Friday, the United manager said he "had faith" but there were times last season when Mourinho appeared to be losing it.

On Saturday, Mourinho suggested he is now more involved in the dressing room: "Maybe that French language little group we have -- Marouane Fellaini, Paul [Pogba], Romelu -- is a group where he's well integrated now and they bring him up."

More importantly, after a season questioning whether Martial was getting the most out of his undoubted talent, Mourinho now insists he has no complaints.

"We're using him well and he's coming with the right attitude," he said. "He's growing in confidence and, of course, two periods of 20 minutes and he's scored two goals, so for his confidence it's good.

"Of course he wants to play, of course he wants to start, of course he wants to be selected for the national team, of course he wants to go to the World Cup, so that's good," United's manager added. "His professional level has improved and he's working much, much better, so we are happy. We have lots of hopes with him and he can only improve."

Two goals in 25 minutes isn't a bad start.

Rob is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @RobDawsonESPN.


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