Paul Merson has given his verdict on Man Utd summer signing Antony (Pictures: Getty)
Paul Merson ‘sees a player’ in Antony and believes he can emulate Manchester City stars Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish at Manchester United.
Antony scored his sixth United goal to help Erik ten Hag’s side beat Real Betis 4-1 in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie.
Despite popping up with some superb goals and impressive pieces of skill, Antony has largely flattered to deceive since his £82m move from Ajax last summer.
That has led some pundits to question if Antony has a long-term future at Old Trafford, but Merson expects the Brazilian to come good.
The Arsenal legend has also changed his mind over Bruno Fernandes, having been one of several pundits to criticise the Portugal star in the aftermath of Manchester United’s embarrassing 7-0 defeat to Liverpool.
There were calls for Ten Hag to strip Fernandes of the captaincy following the Anfield capitulation but the Dutch boss stuck by the 28-year-old, who responded by starring in United’s Europa League victory over Betis.
Revealing his prediction for Manchester United’s next match – a Premier League fixture against Southampton on Sunday – Merson told Sportskeeda: ‘If United could find the perfect game to bounce back after their 7-0 humbling last week, this is it. Manchester United will need to put on a show for their fans.
Bruno Fernandes responded to his critics against Real Betis (Picture: Getty)
‘I know Bruno Fernandes has come under a lot of criticism for his remonstrations on the pitch during that 7-0 loss.
Which team has what it takes to win the Premier League this year? Arsenal or Man City?
‘At first, I thought it was terrible for him to react in that manner. But then I pondered over it and I don’t feel that critical about it anymore.
‘Everybody takes losing differently. Some people are good losers. Some people are bad losers. If he was laughing and joking after that loss, we’d all be going mad now.
‘Some of the things he did weren’t right. He lost his head. But Bruno worked hard to get that captaincy. He shouldn’t have it stripped off of him because of that.
‘On that day, I thought differently about it. But I feel more empathetic now. You shouldn’t punish him alone for a 7-0 loss as he wasn’t the only player on the pitch.
‘As for Antony, he will take time. It will take him at least a season to truly come to his own.
‘You’ve seen Jack Grealish and Riyad Mahrez take time. I look at Antony and I see a player there. I don’t think he will flop at Manchester United. This should be straightforward for United, 4-0.’
MORE : Lisandro Martinez praises two Man Utd team-mates after Real Betis victory
MORE : Paul Scholes says Manchester United duo ‘need a rest’ after Real Betis win
For more stories like this, check our sport page.
Follow Metro Sport for the latest news on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.