Anthony Martial scored once last year but, already in double figures for 2015, the 19-year-old is garnering attention. The UEFA Champions League, he says, has played a part.
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Even within the context of AS Monaco FC's rising stars, the emergence of 19-year-old forward Anthony Martial stands out. Having scored a solitary goal last year, he is already up to ten in 2015, and by the end of his side's run to the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals he was a regular starter. He discusses his emergence, comparisons with Thierry Henry and pitting his wits against Europe's elite.
UEFA.com: You moved to Monaco from Olympique Lyonnais in 2013: how have you developed as a player?
Martial: The first season was difficult. In the first six months I didn't play at all – I just played a few games with the reserves. But during that time I worked a lot on the physical and mental aspects of my game, and I think that's helped me to be where I am now at Monaco.
There is a lot of talent here. There are many talented young players, which allows us to improve game by game. I hope we continue like this – and some new talents will shine in front of the whole of Europe.
UEFA.com: You have been compared to former Monaco forward Thierry Henry. Is he a player you modelled yourself on?
Martial: No, but we come from the same place [Essonne] so it's easy to compare us. But I don't think we have the same type of game – he was very quick whereas I rely more on power and technique. But it's always good to be compared to great players.
UEFA.com: Do you think there are still areas of your game you can improve?
Martial: I still have to improve on everything – my finishing, my runs, my reading of the game – but I think those things will come with time. I know I am quite powerful, quite skilful, and I continue to work on those areas in order to be closer to perfection. It's through hard work and observing older players that I hope to make it.
UEFA.com: You made your UEFA Champions League debut against SL Benfica in this season's group stage. How did it feel to be playing in the competition?
Martial: It was exceptional. I felt proud and I'm sure my family did too. I remember it was a difficult game and we gave everything.
As a kid, when I was still at Lyon, I watched the Champions League matches with the boys at the academy, and now to be taking part is really great. The UEFA Champions League is very important – it allows us to measure ourselves against big teams. And it shows us there is still a lot of work to do, that we need to keep working hard.