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Martial learning from experienced No. 9 Ighalo, says Solskjaer

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Anthony Martial is learning from Odion Ighalo as he continues his development as a central striker.

The Frenchman has often been played out wide in the early years of his career, but has now become United’s No.9.

The 31-year-old Ighalo has played as a striker in Nigeria, Norway, Italy, Spain, England and China, and Solskjaer says he has been putting his experience to good use.

Solskjaer believes Martial is getting important tips from Ighalo who has been impressive since his loan move.

“Odion is a seasoned No 9. He’s played that position his whole career whereas Anthony has played more out on the wing,” Solskjaer tells Sky Sports.

“Odion is helping on the training pitch, in terms of his movement, hold-up play and just being himself. Anthony’s learning off an experienced centre-forward.”

Though Martial’s form hasn’t always been consistent, he has had a reasonably productive season so far and his next goal will be his 20th in all competitions.

Solskjaer hasn’t ruled out the possibility of signing a new striker, but for now he is pushing Martial to rise to the challenge.

“It’s the first season that he’s really playing as a No.9; he’s had to have that burden of the shirt and be that central focus through the middle,” he added.

“Sometimes that’s not easy when you play for Manchester United but he knows that we trust him and I think he knows that we want him to keep developing.

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“We’ll keep challenging him. There are always players in and around the team – and outside the club – who would want to be No.9 for Manchester United. There’s always pressure on a centre-forward but so far, he’s performed really well.”

Solskjaer also believes Martial isn’t just tackling the challenge of being No.9, but is enjoying it as well.

“He’s playing with a smile on his face,” he said.

“Anthony has had a really good season, he’s been really important for us. We felt it during the couple of months he was out injured; we struggled.

“But he knows that we trust him. He knows that we’ll have patience with him and that we’ll keep working with him.”

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