Former Manchester United striker Andy Cole claims Antony would’ve driven him “mad” if he’d played alongside him at Old Trafford in his playing days.
The Brazil international swapped Dutch side Ajax for the Red Devils in 2022 in a deal worth a reported £85m after contributing eight goals and four assists in 23 Eredivisie matches the previous season.
Antony had a largely flat first campaign in the Premier League and he has gone downhill this term at Man Utd with zero goals or assists in 12 games in all competitions.
The Man Utd winger has come in for lots of criticism in recent months and Cole has questioned the Red Devils’ recruitment with the club missing out on players like Kaoru Mitoma for just a fraction of the price.
Cole told Betfred: “If I played with Antony, it would drive me mad. As a centre-forward, if you’re playing with someone like Antony and he doesn’t get to the byline and put crosses in, then you’re going to be pulling your hair out.
“Strikers need crosses, especially Rasmus Højlund who hasn’t scored in the Premier League yet. When Antony cuts in on his left-foot, nine times out of ten he’s going to shoot. The only chances Højlund’s going to receive from Antony is if the opposition goalkeeper parries any of his shots from distance.
“I sometimes have to ask myself what Antony’s strengths are? He doesn’t take players on, he doesn’t create chances and he doesn’t score goals. So what are his strengths?
“We paid a massive amount of money for him. When you look at a club like Brighton who signed [Kaoru] Mitoma for £2.7 million, then you have to ask what market are Manchester United shopping in when Brighton pays that for Mitoma and we end up paying £86 million for Antony? Are we not shopping in the same market?
“It’s like Primark and Zara; you think by paying more to shop at Zara, the quality will be better, but it turns out to be the same as Primark, so you end up paying more for the same thing.
“I look at the transfers we’ve made over the last 10 years and we’ve spent a hell of a lot of money on players that other clubs would have paid less for, so is it a case of Manchester United tax? We can’t continue doing that.
“Antony’s had a really disappointing season. I understand he’s had things going on in the background, but that aside, playing football is ultimately what he does and I struggle to see what he has given the team so far. If his form doesn’t improve throughout the season, you never know what will happen. It all depends on how much longer the manager wants to stick with him.”
Marcus Rashford – who is currently the worst finisher in the Premier League – scored 30 goals in all competitions for the Red Devils last term but the Man Utd forward has bagged just one in all competitions this campaign.
And former Man Utd striker Cole reckons Rashford – who is one of the most valuable players in the Premier League – needs to “go right back to basics” to regain his form.
Cole added: “I don’t know. I really, really don’t know. His form was phenomenal last season, but if you look at his form from two years before that, it was similar to what it’s like now. The freaks such as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo never took a season off.
“Around twenty years at the highest level and they never took a season off. That’s what you’ve got to be like to play at that elite level.
“Only Marcus knows what’s going on in his head at the moment. His form over the last four or five years has been inconsistent and I don’t know what he can or can’t do to get himself back on track. He starts week in, week out and that’s something that every player wants.
“If I had one goal to my name in sixteen appearances, then I’d go right back to basics on how I train, how I finish or whatever it may be. I’d do whatever it took to get me back into form.”