Martial only just regained fitness after five weeks out with sickness, with the 28-year-old fighting for his Old Trafford future as he enters the final five months of his contract.
The strong stance on fitness from Ten Hag mirrors the Dutchman’s decision on Jadon Sancho, who missed a significant part of last season after the World Cup due to issues with his physical and mental state.
While Sancho’s eventual fall out also left him exiled, it was due to conduct and performances rather than his overall fitness, while the Daily Mail claim that Martial’s absence is ‘not a disciplinary matter’ and is instead to help the forward reach the levels expected of him.
However, Martial’s career at United will likely end in a similar fashion to Sancho’s, with the Ten Hag seemingly unconvinced at taking up the option in the ex-Monaco’s man contract to extend his deal for another season.
Instead, the writing is on the wall for Martial, who has been unwilling to leave United this month, is on course to end his nine-year stint in Manchester when his deal expires, with the latest fitness issue likely to be the final nail in the coffin.
Martial downfall set to lead to more familiar outcomes
Martial’s spell at United has been disappointing considering the hype surrounding his early time at the club, having drawn comparisons to Thierry Henry following his £58 million move in 2015.
The striker has netted 63 Premier League goals for United but 51 of them came in his first five years, with just 12 goals in his last four campaigns, albeit with half-a-season spent on loan at Sevilla.
Indeed, Martial’s recent years have been spent injured, unfit and out of form, leading to limited opportunities and an anonymous impact when on the pitch.
Martial is amongst United’s highest earners, being paid a reported £250,000-a-week, and, similar to the situation surrounding David de Gea last season, the club have no desire to keep him at the club on such substantial wages.
Ten Hag revealed earlier in the month that a new contract for Martial was being discussed but, once again just like De Gea’s outcome, United may determine that even an extension on reduced wages would not be benficial if the player doesn’t meet the manager’s standards.
United’s desperation for quality and substance in attack means that Martial will likely get chances to prove himself if and when he regains fitness but it would take a monumental reversal for the player to justify being at the club next season.