Did the signings of Zlatan and Lukaku stall Rashford and Martial's development?

Freeney

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Zlatan probably was a good influence on the young players outside the pitch, but the amount of chances he squandered in the first season was appaling. Had Martial gotten those chances (considering Martial great conversation rate)
we probably would have had a better season.

The problem was no matter what Zlatan did on the pitch he got picked by Mourinho the next game, which probably angered Martial and Rashford.
 

Rolaholic

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I don't think Zlatan did since we all knew, players included, that he was signed for the short term and added some much needed leadership and gravitas in the the locker room and in training.

Lukaku on the other hand wasn't ever really a fit for us outside of fitting Jose's typical profile of a no.9 so I do think having him starting week in and week out irregardless of form harmed their developments.

I can't imagine seeing a teammate go scoreless for double digit games (17 was his peak but he had multiple months+ scoreless droughts along with scoring just once against top 6 opposition) and never being dropped or criticized by the manager at the same time that any slight mistake you might make would get amplified and criticized publicly along with being dropped for would do any young player any good mentally.

Adding on the fact that the club spent a fortune in wages to bring in a passed it Sanchez at a position where both were flourishing and pushing each other when they were alternating at LW at the time, I think that final season and a half of Jose definitely set their development back big time.

It's a testament to their character and quality/ability that they've managed to put up career years in spite of injury under their first full season under Ole. I truly believe that we would've seen this sort of output from them had LVG been given more time or had we gone another direction than Jose to replace him.

He had an outstanding record of developing young talent dating back to Ajax 20+ years ago and he'd have been the type to have confidence and trust in them the way Ole has. Jose on the other hand has always been more antagonistic and rigid in regards to giving younger players a chance and affording them patience. He prefers much more to have established and ready made players fitting his profile than to do the nitty gritty work of developing talent and that's what separates his present iteration from the top managers in the game right now.

The likes of KDB/Sterling/Sane/TAA/Robertson etc, some of the best players in the league the past 2-3 seasons bar none, would've never become world beaters under his tutelage as they would've never been given the opportunity or patience to develop their games beacuse they would've been banished from the starting XI picture after the first few mistakes/shows of inconsistency
 
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Schneiderman

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I don't think playing alongside and training with Zlatan is going to stall any young strikers development. We probably could have seen this Martial a year earlier but for Lukaku/Mourinho though. Thank god we didn't swap him for Perisic.
 

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Lukaku should never have been signed in the first place, mourinho just didn’t have the balls for a fluid free flowing attack. Martial has been handled really poorly, he is still world class and could easily fire 25 goals in the league next season.
 

roonster09

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With benefit of hindsight, Zlatan was superb signing both for that season and for young players to learn from him, Lukaku isn't.
 

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Zlatan no. Lukaku (& to an extent Sánchez), yes.

Zlatan is the kind of inspiration and legend that youngsters can learn from and he was always a short term signing.
 
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They both helped both of them imo. We shouldn't be in the business of avoiding signing experienced stars because we think it may hurt the development of players who may in the end not wind up good enough.
Lukuku was never good enough.

No issue with Zlatan, having a player like that will inspire younger players.

Ultimately, Martial, Rashford and OGS showed Lukuku he had no future as a first team striker at a club like Utd. The real tragedy would be if he was still at the club at stealing game time from forwards who deserve to be playing.


I don't think Zlatan did since we all knew, players included, that he was signed for the short term and added some much needed leadership and gravitas in the the locker room and in training.

Lukaku on the other hand wasn't ever really a fit for us outside of fitting Jose's typical profile of a no.9 so I do think having him starting week in and week out irregardless of form harmed their developments.

I can't imagine seeing a teammate go scoreless for double digit games (17 was his peak but he had multiple months+ scoreless droughts along with scoring just once against top 6 opposition) and never being dropped or criticized by the manager at the same time that any slight mistake you might make would get amplified and criticized publicly along with being dropped for would do any young player any good mentally.

Adding on the fact that the club spent a fortune in wages to bring in a passed it Sanchez at a position where both were flourishing and pushing each other when they were alternating at LW at the time, I think that final season and a half of Jose definitely set their development back big time.

It's a testament to their character and quality/ability that they've managed to put up career years in spite of injury under their first full season under Ole. I truly believe that we would've seen this sort of output from them had LVG been given more time or had we gone another direction than Jose to replace him.

He had an outstanding record of developing young talent dating back to Ajax 20+ years ago and he'd have been the type to have confidence and trust in them the way Ole has. Jose on the other hand has always been more antagonistic and rigid in regards to giving younger players a chance and affording them patience. He prefers much more to have established and ready made players fitting his profile than to do the nitty gritty work of developing talent and that's what separates his present iteration from the top managers in the game right now.

The likes of KDB/Sterling/Sane/TAA/Robertson etc, some of the best players in the league the past 2-3 seasons bar none, would've never become world beaters under his tutelage as they would've never been given the opportunity or patience to develop their games beacuse they would've been banished from the starting XI picture after the first few mistakes/shows of inconsistency
Very good post.
 

Web of Bissaka

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Ibra's time here is overrated. I don't think the team should've been this dependent on a 35 years old striker where everything had to go through him for an entire season. No wonder, we gave up on the league with six games or more to go.

The trouble is Lukaku was even a bigger mistake because we had a striker whom Mourinho tried to make him play like Ibra when he never was able to do that in his career and again our season seemed to have ended in March. The irony is he had someone who was could've played this role much better and instead shunted him wide and even when he performed there, he went and bought Sanchez to play in his place. The Sanchez debacle is still the most infuriating thing to happen post-Fergie.
Sorry but isn't this hindsight 20/20?

And yet once Zlatan's injured, and Rashford take his place, the quality of our attacks dropped immediately. Even Rooney can no longer lead the attack well, Rashford's better but even he is not ready.

And yet our finishing/goalscoring problem against the weak teams of the season before is no longer with Lukaku. The problem resurface this season isn't it before Bruno. Are you talking about Rashford or Martial? And yet once Ole tried him either of them there, Rashford is still less suited and even better on the wings, while Martial took many months and a Bruno to finally learn the trade and be a proper CF consistently. Forgot already?

Yeah, that Sanchez situation is annoying. Even more annoying is after Mou witness him fail after fail, he still insist on playing him despite the rotation between Rash and Martial works like a charm early season. Stubborn.
 

Web of Bissaka

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Truthfully, I would say Martial is being affected the most.
But then, what does he expect -- an easy ride?

1. Stripped the #9 shirt, he loved that number.
2. Emotionally affected throughout Mou's reign (part of it is Martial's own problems).
3. Criticized openly by Mourinho.
4. Marginalized by Mourinho (Martial's attitude, discipline, and agents doesn't help improve the situation either).
4. 2nd season Mou picked him a lot more though and he formed good partnership with Lukaku.
5. Sanchez arrived and he play less.

Alas, past is past. He's good now.

As for Rashford, I think his development in Mou's later half of 2nd season and early half of the 3rd season is stalling, so year 2018 is a stunted year for him. Improving back with Ole.
 

Baneofthegame

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I think Martial beings moved to the wing hindered his development more, you always need healthy competition, same reason I’m in favour of bringing Henderson back to light a fire back under De Gea.
 

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Zlatan no. He was a short-term signing that they should have been doing their best to learn from. Mourinho stripping Martial of his shirt number and giving it to Zlatan (despite Zlatan having no particular affinity to the number) was terrible man management, but that's on Mourinho. Martial should still have been getting some games up top with Zlatan being rested, but once again the lack of that happening is on Mourinho.

Lukaku, yes to some extent. There should still have been enough game time between the three of them over the two positions, but as it turned out Lukaku was absolutely undroppable no matter how badly he was playing. Poor management from Mourinho again.

Sanchez is also in the reckoning, although once again that was more on Mourinho than Sanchez himself. Martial had finally cemented himself in the starting 11 when Sanchez was bought (with Rashford getting quite a bit of game time in different positions), and then Mourinho simply played Lukaku and Sanchez in every game upfront and left wing respectively.

It really is astonishing how badly Martial was fecked around by Mourinho. It's a credit to him that he still had periods where he was playing so well Mourinho had no choice but to keep picking him, and then once he was finally fecked off Martial quickly re-established himself as one of our main men. Rashford I don't think was affected too much as Mourinho obviously did like him and there were times that he was higher up the pecking order than his performances actually deserved (predominately at the expense of Martial). Maybe he was negatively impacted for a while after Sanchez's signing, but it wasn't a multi-year thing like it was for Martial.
 

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Zlatan no, Lukaku yes. Like it was said here, having Zlatan in the dressing room and seeing him in training can only help young strikers. He was a short term transfer and he helped us a lot. Lukaku should have never been bought though. He did have good numbers but I so rather watch us play now then when he was in the team.
 

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And yet our finishing/goalscoring problem against the weak teams of the season before is no longer with Lukaku. The problem resurface this season isn't it before Bruno. Are you talking about Rashford or Martial? And yet once Ole tried him either of them there, Rashford is still less suited and even better on the wings, while Martial took many months and a Bruno to finally learn the trade and be a proper CF consistently. Forgot already?
Martial was doing fine as a striker earlier in the season before Bruno. The issue was that we could basically only attack when we had both Martial and Rashford together. Everybody else in our attack simply was nowhere near good enough, meaning the two of them were pretty much reliant on each other to play with to create opportunities and space. When Martial got injured Rashford couldn't do it all by himself, and then when Rashford got injured Martial struggled (although it should be noted that he was showing signs of being able to do it all by himself in the couple of games before Bruno joined).

Then we signed Bruno so went back to having two threats on the park again and the defenders couldn't just focus entirely on one person. The emergence of Greenwood and return of Rashford and Pogba now turned that into five players, albeit five players that were run into the ground as they had to play every game in short succession.
 

SteveW

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Or another way of phrasing the same question did Mourinho?

They've both had career best seasons under Ole this season but are they behind where they could/should be due to the 2 and a bit years between 2016 and 2019?
Yes. Ole was the first manager to figure out where each should be playing and give them a proper go at it.

Ibra, Sanchez and Lukaku were quick fixes that slowed down the process. Let's face it, if Jose had got his way Martial would be playing somewhere else now and Rashford would probably be a backup player.
 

Adisa

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The lack of faith from the coach did.
The funny thing that every time Martial looked down and out under Mourinho, he always came back.
His goals even kept Mourinho longer in the job than it should.
 

JPRouve

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Truthfully, I would say Martial is being affected the most.
But then, what does he expect -- an easy ride?

1. Stripped the #9 shirt, he loved that number.
2. Emotionally affected throughout Mou's reign (part of it is Martial's own problems).
3. Criticized openly by Mourinho.
4. Marginalized by Mourinho (Martial's attitude, discipline, and agents doesn't help improve the situation either).
4. 2nd season Mou picked him a lot more though and he formed good partnership with Lukaku.
5. Sanchez arrived and he play less.

Alas, past is past. He's good now.

As for Rashford, I think his development in Mou's later half of 2nd season and early half of the 3rd season is stalling, so year 2018 is a stunted year for him. Improving back with Ole.
Perceptions are interesting, the bolded part isn't true Martial played a similar amount of minutes and actually played a little bit less during the second season(2447 vs 2337 in all competitions). Both of their development have been stalled by a lack of minutes, there is no way around it, we are talking about 19-20 years old players at that age you need to play week in week out and be trusted by your manager even when you are out of form. For Martial it was even worse since we were talking about a striker that was rarely used as a striker and expected to learn a new role while having a limited amount of minutes and starts.
 

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I wouldn’t say Zlatan did as everyone knew he was very much a short term signing and was someone they could both learn from, Lukaku on the other hand was signed as our long term number one striker with Martial and Rashford expected to support him but alternating as Jose believed Martial and Rashford couldn’t play together.

It’s definitely something that Ole should be credited for as he was the man who switched Martial and Rashford around positionally and got the results we’ve seen from them whilst having the balls to sell Lukaku, it took a while (and signing Fernandes) but our style of play improved and now Rashford and Martial have developed a very promising partnership.
/thread
 

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Buying players doesn't necessarily stall a player's development. It's the reaction of the manager and the player in question that does the stalling.

Competition can be healthy for a player's development and if they use that as motivation to push on they can be much better for it. If they throw a strop and fail to take their chances when given them, it can stall their development.

But none of that really matters if a manager is hell bent on playing the more experienced player regardless of form.
 

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I think the form we're seeing from both of them now is down to maturity as both players and people. We wouldn't have seen this level of consistency from either player even under a different manager I don't think. Maybe Martial, but Rashford's game was a bit more erratic and that needed stomping out.

Rashford and Martial have like 200 appearances each for United do they? For players still so young, that's a huge number. They've both come through difficult situations in their careers and shout be better for it. I don't think they will have suffered, talent wise, or potential wise, that ability is always there.

So no, different paths maybe than what we would have expected, but they're delivering the goods now so that's all that matters.
 

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Or another way of phrasing the same question did Mourinho?

They've both had career best seasons under Ole this season but are they behind where they could/should be due to the 2 and a bit years between 2016 and 2019?
A young player can only benefit from playing and training with an experienced world-class player like Ibra. He helped them develop rather than hinder them. Not sure about Lukaku, but I doubt the players learned anything valuable from playing with him.

But Jose did nothing to forward Martial or Rashford's development. He only played them due to a lack of options in that area, and often condemned them in the press after a bad performance. He definitely slowed their development.
 

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Really? This again? We had a thread "is Zlatan holding us back?" way before this one. Zlatans link up play was fantastic and I really can't complain about Lukaku's either. Both Martial and Rashford are entering their prime years something that wasn't the case two seasons prior. And despite the fact that Ole wants faster free flowing front three there is nothing wrong with having a big strong CF in the squad.
 

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Lukuku was never good enough.

No issue with Zlatan, having a player like that will inspire younger players.

Ultimately, Martial, Rashford and OGS showed Lukuku he had no future as a first team striker at a club like Utd. The real tragedy would be if he was still at the club at stealing game time from forwards who deserve to be playing.




Very good post.
Lukaku was good enough, he just wasn't the right player for the moment. He did knock in 27 goals in his first year which is a very good contribution for a new player.
 
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Lukaku was good enough, he just wasn't the right player for the moment. He did knock in 27 goals in his first year which is a very good contribution for a new player.
He clearly wants good enough. He was never the right player for any moment at Man Utd.

That’s not 27 league goals, and he went how many months without scoring?

I can remind you of his tally of 1 goal in 23 appearances against the top 6 in the league.

For a £75m striker, it is in no way good enough. Playing as a sole striker, to score less than a goal every two games (16 in 34) is poor. Followed by 12 in 32 in his second season).

As a young player, it must be demoralising watching someone with such limited ability, and inability to score against a half decent defence to be picked ahead of you in every game.
 

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He clearly wants good enough. He was never the right player for any moment at Man Utd.

That’s not 27 league goals, and he went how many months without scoring?

I can remind you of his tally of 1 goal in 23 appearances against the top 6 in the league.

For a £75m striker, it is in no way good enough. Playing as a sole striker, to score less than a goal every two games (16 in 34) is poor. Followed by 12 in 32 in his second season).

As a young player, it must be demoralising watching someone with such limited ability, and inability to score against a half decent defence to be picked ahead of you in every game.
27 goals is 27 goals irrespective of competition. He has 29 in Serie-A this year - so all things said, he had goals in him. He just wasn't a United player in the traditional sense.

The 75m price is somewhat irrelevant given how much we've payed for other recent transfers like Pogba and the ridiculous wages we've put down for someone like Alexis. At the end of the day he was simply the wrong player during a turbulent period.
 

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No they probably helped by keeping the limelight and pressure off them
Zlatan will of helped with his presence alone
 

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It was Sanchez more than Zlatan and Lukaku. Sanchez took up left-wing where they both wanted to play. I don't think Mourinho ever would have played Martial as striker anyway. His progress was really hindered by Sanchez, went from playing great before Christmas to barely playing at all.

Lukaku is a good player but Martial has a higher ceiling as an all-round player. It depends on what type of football you play, but if you want to play with pace then Martial's first-touch, dribbling and movement like United have been playing recently then Martial is the man.
 

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It was the right move to sign Ibrahimovic as Rashford and Martial weren't mature and consistent enough to lead the line at that time. They were expected to learn from the verteran striker and take over his place gradually, but it's a shame that the horrible injury cut Ibrahimovic's spell at United short and disrupted our plan. As a result we had another decision to make - whether to trust in Rashford and Martial or to bring in another striker. It's a 50:50 decision and Mourinho chose the latter.
 

MemphisThePie

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I’m sure they learned a thing or two from Zlatan. Lukaku on the other hand were in the way, especially for Martial.
 
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27 goals is 27 goals irrespective of competition. He has 29 in Serie-A this year - so all things said, he had goals in him. He just wasn't a United player in the traditional sense.

The 75m price is somewhat irrelevant given how much we've payed for other recent transfers like Pogba and the ridiculous wages we've put down for someone like Alexis. At the end of the day he was simply the wrong player during a turbulent period.
Of course it’s relevant, and so is the transfer fee. I find it strange those who defend him, whilst if you look with you eyes you see a very average striker that never should have been at a club like Utd.

He padded out those numbers by scoring 8 in the EL.

League goals are the barometer of a striker. 16 in 34 appearances whilst playing as a sole striker, and rarely if ever being substituted is a poor return.
 

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With hindsight, Jose was very quickly ruining Martials' career.

It was plain to see Rashford loved playing with Zlatan.
 

Dante

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Not necessarily.

At that age, neither was ready to lead the line in the Premier League. They were always going to be rotation options or given minutes on the wing, even under someone like Fergie. It's the same as what's happening with Greenwood right now. In fact, if Sancho signs and Greenwood drops to the bench for most games, it's going to be an even closer parallel.

In any case, I don't think that being automatic first choice is the only way to develop a player. Restricting their minutes is often a good thing as it gives them time to bulk up and build athleticism - again, just look at how Greenwood transformed his body during the lockdown. And giving a young player the chance to learn from experienced pros is always helpful.

I don't think anybody on this forum can know how Jose's tough treatment of Martial affected him. From personal experience, I can think of difficult situations that made me a better man. But others that hurt my confidence for some time afterward; though even then, I usually benefited in the long term. Only Martial will be best placed to judge this.
 

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Of course it’s relevant, and so is the transfer fee. I find it strange those who defend him, whilst if you look with you eyes you see a very average striker that never should have been at a club like Utd.

He padded out those numbers by scoring 8 in the EL.

League goals are the barometer of a striker. 16 in 34 appearances whilst playing as a sole striker, and rarely if ever being substituted is a poor return.
Im not defending him, just pointing out the nuances of his time with us. He’s a good striker who we massively overpaid for and who joined us during a long rebuilding period. The fact that he is now performing well at Inter (nearly 30 goals) only reinforces my point.
 

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I think Jose is the culprit. He rarely develops young players. Ole certainly has a different mentality, being a top class striker himself. He knows what goes thru a players mind. Jose won't understand that feeling.
 

georgipep

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Not necessarily.

At that age, neither was ready to lead the line in the Premier League. They were always going to be rotation options or given minutes on the wing, even under someone like Fergie. It's the same as what's happening with Greenwood right now. In fact, if Sancho signs and Greenwood drops to the bench for most games, it's going to be an even closer parallel.

In any case, I don't think that being automatic first choice is the only way to develop a player. Restricting their minutes is often a good thing as it gives them time to bulk up and build athleticism - again, just look at how Greenwood transformed his body during the lockdown. And giving a young player the chance to learn from experienced pros is always helpful.

I don't think anybody on this forum can know how Jose's tough treatment of Martial affected him. From personal experience, I can think of difficult situations that made me a better man. But others that hurt my confidence for some time afterward; though even then, I usually benefited in the long term. Only Martial will be best placed to judge this.
When you say "that age" do you actually believe that? Rashford now is at the same age Martial was when Lukaku was bought. Rashford is a proven starter for us, same as Martial. Why wouldn't at least Martial have been ready, under the right tutelage and guidance?
 

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I think they learned a lot.

But they might have been played in the wrong positions. Could’ve done a few games coming on as backup in more appropriate positions.
 

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No for Zlatan, yes for Lukaku but it didn't have to be like that.

Zlatan was a perfect stop gap for Marcus and Anthony. I world class proven winner from them to learn from. By all accounts, Zlatan was great for the dressing room and was a real leader.

Where Jose went wrong was signing Lukaku and making him his undisputed No.1. Martial and Rashford were in competition with each other but he made Lukaku an untouchable and that was wrong. Looking at what Martial has been able to accomplish as our No.9 you can only imagine how demoralised he must have been when he sees Lukaku stink it up in games as the central striker but be guaranteed a start the next match. We'd actually be much better off if we played Martial, Rashford and Lukaku based on their form. I do feel Lukaku's ego wouldn't be able to accept that though.

The real signing that hampered their development was Sanchez. They were playing really well in the first half of 2017/18 but once Sanchez signed, it all went downhill from there.