Petit: 'Cold-blooded' Martial is like Henry

The World Cup winner likened the young France striker to his former team-mate and spoke of his regret at failing to join the Old Trafford side

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit has compared Manchester United striker Anthony Martial to former team-mate Thierry Henry, after the 19-year-old’s impressive start to Premier League life. 

Martial moved to Old Trafford from Monaco in a deadline day deal worth up to £58 million, making the France international the world’s most expensive teenager. 

Following the original furore around the deal, the former Lyon striker has settled into Premier League life well, scoring in wins over Liverpool and Southampton as well as a League Cup victory over Ipswich Town. 

And Petit, who won the Premier League during his time at Arsenal, has now likened Martial to former team-mate Henry, praising him as a “cold-blooded finisher”. 

“I would compare Anthony Martial to Thierry Henry, because of his power and his languid style, and the way he moves,” the 45-year-old told  Omnisport  ahead of Sunday’s clash between Arsenal and United.

“He’s a cold-blooded finisher, he always opens up when he’s about to shoot. He is a kid who is clearly learning a lot from watching others with more experience.He tries to adapt his game and he has some fantastic qualities.”

Petit has also indicated his regret at not moving to United during his career, suggesting that prioritising his private life over his playing career cost him a spell at Old Trafford. 

“Not signing for United myself is a regret, because who knows what might have happened? Every time I’ve made a decision based on my private life instead of my career I’ve always failed eventually,” he added.

“I didn’t do that often, just the two times, but each of those times I have failed. I should have listened to my inner voice.

The former France international revealed that former United manager Sir Alex Ferguson twice tried to sign him, also praising the quality of the midfielders plying their trade at Old Trafford at that time, and damning his time at Chelsea as “average”.

“Ferguson called me twice and tried to convince me to come to United,” Petit continued. 

“At the time there were outstanding players, the likes of Giggs, Beckham, Scholes and Keane. It would have been nice to play in midfield next to them.

“Eventually though I listened to my ex-wife and went to Chelsea. It wasn’t all bad, it was average, a falsely good idea.”

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