With 25 minutes to go in a typically tight tussle between Manchester United and Liverpool, in the teatime kickoff at Old Trafford on Saturday, 19 year old Anthony Martial entered the game from the subs bench.
It’s difficult to think of a more hotly contested fixture for this hugely expensive colt to make his debut in.
Signed on deadline day for a fee which left many agog, some felt that the young Frenchman was likely to buckle under the pressure of expectation and price tag.
And he didn’t even touch the ball for the first 13 minutes after his introduction.
Had it gone on like that, questions would already have been asked this week about whether Manchester United had bought a dud.
In the 84th minute, Liverpool reduced the deficit to one goal after Christian Benteke scored what will undoubtedly be on the shortlist for goal of the season.
The pressure was on Manchester United. But, out of nowhere, Martial wrested control of the game back into the hands of his new team with the sort of penetration and individual brilliance that this club has recently been desperate for.
With barely five minutes to go of normal time Martial offered his only real contribution to the game – but what a contribution.
He picked up possession wide on the left flank, in a position of no obvious danger for Liverpool. But Martial drove straight at the heart of the opposition defence, rode a couple of half-hearted tackles and placed the ball brilliantly beyond the despairing left hand of Simon Mignolet.
It was an ice cool finish in the hottest of cauldrons and Martial became an instant hero for Manchester United fans.
A decisive goal against Liverpool will lend him more time than most to find his feet.
But, based on that performance, he won’t need much slack. Because, with his incredible pace, close control and composed finishing, Martial looks very much like player for the present as well as the future of Manchester United.