Jadon Sancho and Anthony Martial failed to impress ex-Manchester United star Paul Ince (Picture: Getty)
Paul Ince has urged Anthony Martial, Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard to play ‘proper football’ rather than dribbling down blind alleys and attempting ‘little flicks’ following Manchester United’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham in the Carabao Cup.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer made 11 changes to his team that beat the Hammers in the Premier League last weekend, with many of United’s peripheral players given a chance to prove themselves in Wednesday night’s third-round tie.
But it was disappointment for Solskjaer’s new-look side as David Moyes came back to haunt his former club at Old Trafford, with Manuel Lanzini’s 9th-minute strike proving decisive.
Ince was particularly unimpressed with Martial’s lacklustre showing at the Theatre of Dreams, highlighting the Frenchman’s questionable body language across what was only his third start of the season.
‘How many people are ahead of Martial now? Was he going to go in the transfer window? Ole said no and he’s still part of his plans.
‘I just looked at Martial’s body language and I was thinking, “Does he actually want to be out there on a Wednesday night?”, and some players do that. When they’re not involved in the first-team on a Saturday, they think: “Why am I playing in the Carabao Cup?!”
‘You sense that body language with Martial. He didn’t want to be out there.’
The former United and England midfielder felt Martial, Sancho and Lingard were all guilty of overcomplicating play instead of just biding their time and passing themselves into dangerous positions.
‘I get that Sancho is still learning, he’s still young. But this is not FIFA game, it’s not all about dribbling and dribbling and trying to beat two, three, four players or little flicks and that,’ Ince added.
‘Yeah, it’s nice when they come off but the likes of Sancho and Lingard, all these flicks, just play proper football.
‘Honestly, it winds me up! If you watch players like [Ryan] Giggs, they get it and they pass, one-twos and get one-on-one… we just want to keep running with the ball, trying little flicks, little backheels.
‘That’s what I saw with Martial, I saw it at times with Lingard and with Sancho and that’s where they need to learn that it’s not all about dribbling. Sometimes you can pass your way through players and get yourself in the box.’
Lanzini scored the only goal of the game at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)
Ince is confident there will be plenty of opportunities for Martial to put his hand up for selection, with Cristiano Ronaldo likely to be managed carefully over the course of the campaign.
Asked whether Martial could be set for the exit door at United, Ince replied: ‘We’ve got to be careful because things do change.
‘We’re saying, “Ronaldo’s going to play every game”, but he’s 36, who knows, he could pick up an injury and is out for three or four weeks, Martial comes back in, gets a couple of goals and a run in the team.
‘I’ve seen it so many times in the game where a player comes back in, he’s been out in Siberia, does well, he’s got a year left, and all of a sudden he signs a four-year contract. And you think: “Where’s that come from?!”
‘Martial has got to be ready for his opportunity. I don’t think Ronaldo will play every game.
‘Yesterday was an opportunity for Martial to say to the manager, “Look at me, I still want to push for a shirt!”, and that was the sad thing about yesterday.’