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Against Newcastle, Erik ten Hag slapped a Man United player for defying a simple order

During Manchester United’s match against Newcastle, it was observed that Erik ten Hag and Anthony Martial were teasing one another.

Ten Hag selected Martial for Saturday’s Premier League match at St. James’ Park, leaving fellow attacker Ramus Hojlund on the bench. The Frenchman recently helped United defeat Everton 3-0 at Goodison Park by scoring and dishing out an assist.

Yet Martial failed to build on that performance. Ten Hag had a go at the striker midway through the first half of Saturday’s game against the Magpies before tensions boiled over just before half-time, with the pair shouting and gesturing at one another. The French forward had failed to adequately track Newcastle defender Fabian Schar as he emerged from the back and played the ball to Kieran Trippier, who subsequently teed up Miguel Almiron to shoot just wide.

Despite their on-field spat, Martial wasn’t hooked by Ten Hag at half-time. He remained on the pitch until after Anthony Gordon scored just before the hour mark.

Martial’s row with Ten Hag will do little to help his case for earning a new contract at Old Trafford. The 27-year-old’s existing deal expires at the end of the season, with the option of a further 12 months. It’s believed that option is for United, not the player.

Martial has experienced an indifferent time at United since arriving from Ligue 1 side Monaco as a 19-year-old in September 2015. The Red Devils paid an initial £36million for the forward, making him the most expensive teenager in the history of football.

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Martial famously scored on his debut against Liverpool to hand United a 3-1 victory against their bitter rivals. He went on to enjoy a good first season at Old Trafford, scoring 17 goals in all competitions and winning the FA Cup final against Crystal Palace.

He was also named in France’s squad for Euro 2016 and featured in their final defeat to Portugal. Yet Martial’s career stalled after that. He failed to make France’s victorious squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and struggled for consistency at Old Trafford.

The 2019-20 season was Martial’s finest for United, as he scored 23 goals in all competitions for the club. But he’s only managed to find the net 19 times since and spent the second half of the 2021-22 campaign on loan at Sevilla, where he failed to score in La Liga.

Speaking to Sky Sports last month, Gary Neville claimed the critics haven’t been “harsh enough” on Martial considering he’s scored just 90 goals during his time at United. The pundit also described the “failings” of United’s recruitment as “absolutely incredible”.

Andy Cole added: “When you play centre forward at a club like Man United, that’s not enough goals… can he take Manchester United where they need to be? He’s been here nine years and not done it, so it’ll be very difficult for him to do it now.”

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