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Sagna warns 'very talented' Martial ahead of Manchester derby

Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna has praised countryman and derby rival Anthony Martial, but has warned the youngster he will have a fight on his hands on Sunday.

Martial was destined to become one of the stories of this Premier League season after clinching a £36 million deadline day move to Old Trafford at the age of just 19.

He scored just minutes after being handed his United debut, against Liverpool back in September, and racked up five goals in his first four games, but the teenager has found it difficult to recreate that form of late thanks to United’s raft of injuries and Louis van Gaal’s rigid approach.

But Sagna, who has seen his compatriot come through the ranks with France, believes he has everything he needs to be a true star.

“He is very talented, I think he has all the qualities to become a great striker,” the City defender told Goal. “He can score, he has a great ability to shoot, he can accelerate quite easily, he is skilful. He has everything you need to become a great player.”

Even in Wayne Rooney’s absence, Martial has played on the left-hand side of United’s attack of late, meaning he could come face-to-face with Sagna at the Etihad Stadium.

The right-back, though, is well-placed to deal with the threat posed by the tricky youngster, and has sent a warning of his own.

“I did [face him], for France, when we play in training. At the end of the day it’s going to be a fight, not only a personal fight but as a team we want to win. If we want to win everybody has to perform well, if I play I have to perform well.”

The two men will be on the same side this summer when France go in search of European Championship glory on home soil.

Martial is one of a number of exceptional youngsters, alongside Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and Kingsley Coman, who will be key to coach Didier Deschamps’ plans.

But while Sagna knows there will be huge pressure for the whole squad to bear, he does not believe it is anything out of the ordinary.

“We’re going to have to play in front of our fans, our family,” he added. “We’re the host country, it’s always nice to play the competition in your home country.

“Whenever France played a competition in the country they won it, they won the Euro and they won the World Cup, so we have to win that cup!

“The pressure… not necessarily. We want to play, of course the pressure will be different, but at the end of the day in any game you’re under pressure, because it’s still a football game and you have to win every single game. So there’s pressure, yes, but I think we can deal with it.”

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Which national team does Bacary Sagna  play for?
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