Anthony Martial was “in a sulk” about losing the Manchester United number nine shirt to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to Paul Scholes.
The ex-United midfielder says shirt numbers would never have bothered him in his playing days, but feels they are significant for others like David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Scholes hopes Martial – who now wears number 11 – has got over it and urged the France international, along with team-mate Marcus Rashford, to relish their opportunity to learn from Ibrahimovic.
The veteran striker has hugely impressed Scholes since arriving at Old Trafford on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, scoring 20 goals across all competitions.
“Some players care about it, others don’t – I wouldn’t have cared one bit about numbers,” Scholes told The Daily Mail.
“I can imagine David Beckham being unhappy about taking the number seven off him, or Cristiano Ronaldo.
“If Zlatan wasn’t number nine, I don’t think he would be too happy about it. Martial did seem to be in a sulk, but he seems to have got over it.”
Asked if Ibrahimovic’s presence has a negative impact on Martial and Rashford, 11-time Premier League winner Scholes said: “I don’t think so.
“It will be a great education playing with someone like that. I don’t see Martial as a centre-forward anyway.
“He doesn’t have the cleverness to be a centre-forward for United, but as a left winger he could be one of the best in the world and Ibrahimovic isn’t stopping him developing.
“Maybe more so with Marcus, but he is 19 and better coming into games at the moment on the left or right-hand side.
“He should be watching Ibrahimovic every day in training. I’m sure he is capable of taking over that role one day.
“They rely too heavily on Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He has been a great signing but there has not been someone there to chip in with goals and take the pressure off him.
“We knew what stars [Paul] Pogba, Ibrahimovic and [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan were. They have all played at massive clubs and were ready-made special players.
“It was what was needed. It is no surprise how well Zlatan has done, although he would have struggled in a [Louis] van Gaal team.”