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Anthony Martial says Jose Mourinho disrespected him with shirt number change, blames him for World Cup snub

Manchester United forward Anthony Martial has said that former manager Jose Mourinho disrespected him by changing his shirt number without his consent.

The 26-year-old wore the number nine jersey during his debut campaign with the club in 2015/16 where he was hugely impressive with 17 goals in all competitions.

However, his squad number was changed the following season with Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s arrival. With the Swede taking the number 9 shirt, Martial was shifted to 11.

In an interview with France Football via Maxifoot, Martial has now revealed that Mourinho sent him a message to swap shirts but he decided to decline the request.

However, he found himself with a different shirt number on his return from holidays. Martial insists that the Portuguese disrespected him straight up with the decision.

He said: “It started with the story of the number. During the holidays, he sends me a message to ask me if I want to take no.11, explaining to me that it’s great, because of it’s legend Ryan Giggs.”

“I told him that I have the greatest respect for Giggs, but that I prefer to keep my number 9.

“When I return to the club, I see my jersey with the number 11, the story did not start well. He disrespected me, straight up.”

Meanwhile, Martial also put the blame on Mourinho for missing out on the 2018 World Cup. He added that the decision to sign Alexis Sanchez cost him dearly as he hardly played before the tournament.

He added: “I was the team’s top scorer in the first part of the season, he brought in Alexis Sanchez and I hardly played any more. It cost me dearly. I should have been there [at the World Cup].”

Martial had to wait until the 2019/2020 campaign to retain his preferred number nine jersey. His career seemed to be going nowhere in recent years, but there has been a turnaround under Erik ten Hag.

The France international had a superb pre-season with three goals from five outings, but picked up a hamstring injury right before the start of the 2022/23 Premier League campaign.

He made a superb comeback with a match-winning assist in the second half against Liverpool, but he is now back on the sidelines after picking up an Achilles injury during the same game.

Martial has subsequently missed four games but hopefully he will return to full training in the coming days. The former Monaco youngster will feel that he could still make the World Cup squad.

Marcus Rashford has found a new lease of life under Ten Hag with three goals and three assists this term. The England star should fancy his chances of earning a call-up after multiple snubs.

Martial also has an outside chance of making Didier Deschamps’ squad in Qatar if he can stand out with his performances in October where United have a hectic schedule with nine matches.

Stats from Transfermarkt.com