Pallister wary of talking up Martial after seeing Manchester United teammate Januzaj falter

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The former United defender is a fan of the Frenchman, and is tipping the Red Devils to mount a title challenge, but has urged caution.

Former Manchester United defender Gary Pallister has, speaking exclusively to 888sport.com ahead of an intriguing derby clash at Old Trafford this weekend, attempted to calm the excitement surrounding Anthony Martial.

The young Frenchman was the centre of attention for the Red Devils again on Wednesday night, righting the wrongs of conceding a needless first-half penalty to salvage a point in a 1-1 Champions League draw with CSKA Moscow.

Martial now has five goals in his nine United appearances to date, with those efforts spread across Premier League, League Cup and European competition.

Having signed for a fee reported by the BBC to stand at £36million, rising to £58m if certain terms are met, big things were expected of the 19-year-old despite his relative inexperience.

He has delivered an immediate return on the considerable investment made in his potential, with Louis van Gaal having found a regular source of goals to complement and support club captain Wayne Rooney.

Unsurprisingly, Martial has earned plenty of plaudits for his efforts, with the sky seemingly the limit for a promising performer with the world at his feet.

The same has, however, been said of many before him, including a few at Old Trafford, and Pallister is wary of expecting too much, too soon from a man still learning his trade and one who will not remain a surprise package for long.

You can read his full and frank interview here – including thoughts on Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and the form of Wayne Rooney – but on Martial, he said: “It’s really exciting to see a young player come into the team and have an immediate impact but we saw that a couple of seasons ago with (Adnan) Januzaj ,where we all went on about him being the new Ryan Giggs or the next Georgie Best. In the early part of his career he took Manchester United by storm but he’s flat-lined since then, so you’ve got to be really careful when you throw all these accolades at young players.

“Martial has pace and at times he can destroy people with that pace. That excites people and gets fans on the edge of their seats while putting the fear of God into defenders. So he has all the attributes to be a star player but he’s just starting out in the game.”

While eager to avoid placing too much pressure on a teenage talent, with Adnan Januzaj – now out on loan at Borussia Dortmund a perfect example of how young talents can falter – Pallister is still excited about United as a collective.

A 19-point haul from their opening nine games of the 2015/16 campaign has them perched third in the Premier League standings, just two points behind Sunday’s derby foes Manchester City, and a man who helped the club to four top-flight crowns during his time at Old Trafford, believes another serious challenge could be on the cards.

Pallister added: “They’re one of a handful of teams in contention and nobody else is really running away with it, nobody is putting down a marker and saying ‘we’re the best team in this league’, like Chelsea did last year. City had a decent start but it still looks like they have a few problems, so United are in there with a pretty good chance.”

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