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Jamie Carragher has doubled down on claims that Lisandro Martinez could suffer at the heart of Manchester United‘s defence and stated that he would not want to play alongside the Argentine. Martinez made a shaky start to his Red Devils career but has already won many fans over during Erik ten Hag‘s recent winning run.
At 5ft 9in, Martinez is one of the smallest central defenders to have played in the English top-flight. Often hailed as one of the most physical leagues in the world, many, including Carragher, felt as though the former Ajax man would get found out very quickly.
Consecutive defeats against Brighton and Brentford to kick-start his stint with the Red Devils only added fuel to the fire, particularly when he was overpowered at the back post by Ben Mee in the 4-0 thrashing against the Bees.
At the time, Carragher urged fans not to judge players too quickly but insisted that Martinez would suffer in a back four and would benefit from being shifted out to left-back or as part of a defensive trio.
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Since then, United have won four Premier League games on the spin including impressive triumphs over Liverpool and Arsenal. Martinez’s performances have picked up massively, drawing high praise from many former players but Carragher has urged the Red Devils faithful not to get ‘carried away’.
“I think [Martinez] is a good player,” he told The Overlap. “[But] I wouldn’t want a centre-back in my team who’s 5ft 9in. I wouldn’t. We’ll see. We’ve had four games, don’t get carried away.
“For a defender to be 5ft 9in and play any level of football, he’s got to be a good player. He’s aggressive, his passing is very good and he’s a leader. [But] I wouldn’t want to play alongside someone that short as a centre-back.”
Martinez has forged a partnership with World Cup winner Raphael Varane at the back for Ten Hag, with club captain Harry Maguire controversially dropped to the bench. The new manager decided to stick with Maguire as skipper before the campaign got underway but has openly discussed the notion that the armband will not necessarily guarantee him regular game time. One of Carragher’s former foes on the pitch, Paul Scholes, has heaped praise on Martinez and urged Ten Hag not to take the 24-year-old out of a back four which seems to be getting more comfortable with each passing game.
“At United it’s about the determination more than anything,” he said. “You know the talent is there but it’s about getting up to people, stopping people, getting up to people, being solid at the back. Having that solid back four now is helping them. Martinez coming out of that might be a worry going forward.”
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