It took almost a decade but it happened on Wednesday evening at an empty Old Trafford as Anthony Martial became the first Manchester United player to score a hat-trick for the club in seven years since Robin Van Persie did against Aston Villa in 2013.

And following the feat, the former United striker has congratulated Martial for becoming the first Manchester United player to do that since Sir Alex Ferguson retired as manager seven years ago.

Martial netted a treble in Wednesday evening’s 3-0 win over Sheffield United and it was the club’s first since Van Persie’s hat-trick helped them secure their record 20th Premier League title against Aston Villa back in April 2013.

Van Persie was effectively replaced by Martial after leaving Old Trafford in the summer of 2015 but acknowledged the Frenchman’s feat on Twitter following the Red Devils’ curiously long wait for a hat-trick.

‘It took a while.. but happy that someone has taken the baton after seven years Congratulations on the hat-trick Anthony Martial,’ Van Persie said on the social media site.

Martial took just seven minutes to open the scoring after turning home a Marcus Rashford cross at the near post before doubling United’s lead a minute before the break after drilling in a low Aaron Wan-Bissaka effort.

The Frenchman then capped off a fine evening 16 minutes from the end when after a one-two with Rashford he lofted a finish over the head of advancing Blades keeper Simon Moore.

It takes Martial to an impressive tally of 19 goals from 36 appearances in all competitions this term and left manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer delighted with his display.

‘The third goal was a great goal,’ Solskjaer said after the game.

‘But for me, the first and the second were better. He’s in the box, ready to go. We have worked on that, getting in the box in that situation more often.’

Martial’s team-mate Nemanja Matic also congratulated his efforts, claiming he was the best player on the pitch.

‘I am especially happy for Anthony scoring his first hat trick. It is very important for him to score goals,’ he said.

‘It is important for every striker for confidence. I am happy that our strikers are in good condition and for me Anthony was man of the match. He used almost every chance he had to score.

‘Let us see in the future what he can do for us but I am happy for him and congratulations to him.’

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