Man Utd manager Erik ten Hag has a reputation for his work on the training ground and he’s already making an impact with some players. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial played an important role off the bench for United in Cyprus. The last time Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial were on the scoresheet in the same game before Thursday night Manchester United ended up hitting nine, thrashing a bedraggled Southampton at an empty Old Trafford in February 2021.

But two months after the first ball was kicked this season Rashford is United’s top scorer with five goals and was September’s player of the month in the Premier League. Martial is tied with Jadon Sancho on three goals but they’ve come in just 107 minutes of football. The Frenchman’s late double at the Etihad on Sunday was a sideshow to the scoreline, but the nature with which he stuck his penalty right into the top corner hinted at a player in a confident mood. He backed that up with an emphatic strike against Omonia Nicosia on Thursday.

Rashford and Martial came off the bench to save United from embarrassment in Cyprus and while the strength in depth is pleasing, they won’t find themselves in reserve too often this season. If you were asked to pick United’s best front three after Ten Hag was appointed in April, Rashford and Martial would have been way down the list, especially if you’d been told the club would spend £85.5million on another winger in the summer.

But now Rashford and Martial look undroppable. The former has to take Sancho’s place on the left and, as incredible as it sounds to say, Martial is a better option than Cristiano Ronaldo at No. 9. A front three of Rashford, Martial and Antony would be ideal at Goodison Park this weekend. The way Ten Hag has transformed the careers of two players who were low on confidence and the subject of intense criticism last season speaks volumes for his man management and, most crucially of all, his ability to develop players.