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Man Utd couldn’t risk losing Martial but need him to become Europe’s best - Neville

9:39 PM GMT+8 02/02/2019
Anthony Martial Manchester United 2018-19
The French forward has committed to a new long-term contract at Old Trafford and is being challenged to take his game to even greater heights

Manchester United made the right call handing Anthony Martial a new five-year contract, says Gary Neville, but the Frenchman needs to justify that deal by becoming “one of the best players in Europe”.

The Red Devils have tied their 23-year-old forward to fresh terms through to 2023.

An extended stay is just reward for a player who has enjoyed a welcome return to form under the guidance of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, having been among those left frustrated by a lack of consistent outings and performances during Jose Mourinho’s tenure.

Neville believes retaining Martial was the best decision for United, but feels they should now be demanding a considerable return on their sizeable show of faith.

The Red Devils legend told Sky Sports: "It would be too big a risk to let someone of that potential and promise [to leave].

"He is still at a good level, his assists and goals record are not bad, but there is a lot more to come from him.

"This contract is a reward for him and he now has a manager who believes in him and is playing him in different positions and making him do different things.

"From United's point of view, they now need a return on that investment and that promise and potential that he has shown in glimpses and moments in the last three-and-a-half years to now become a consistent set of performances that will mean he becomes one of the best players in Europe in his position."

Martial has taken in 161 appearances for United, netting 46 goals.

Ten of those efforts have come this season, with the France international just one away from matching his return from the entire 2017-18 campaign.

He could hit that mark on Sunday when United take in a trip to Leicester, with Solskjaer’s side taking aim at a place inside the Premier League’s top four.

A win at the King Power Stadium could even see them move into the top four, depending on the results in Arsenal and Chelsea's respective games this weekend.

The Red Devils trailed the Champions League places by 11 points when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over at Old Trafford, but they are now just three away.