Jamie Carragher has admitted that he is still not persuaded Lisandro Martinez is a long-term central defence option for Manchester United.
Martinez joined United from Ajax for more than £50 million during the summer transfer window, and he immediately slotted into the starting lineup at Old Trafford. However, his Premier League career got off to a shaky start, with United losing to Brighton on an opening day before being blasted 4-0 by Brentford.
What Has Jamie Carragher said about Lisandro Martinez?
He came under fire after the defeat in West London, with many questioning his long-term sustainability as a centre-back. Carragher and Sky Sports colleague Gary Neville also believed that the Argentine, at 5ft9, was too tiny to prosper in a back four.
“Perhaps on the left in a back three – that could work,” Neville said. “Perhaps in midfield, since we know he can do it.”
Carragher is adamant that if he tries to engage in a physical struggle with the Norwegian striker, the deficiencies in his game that he still feels exist would be revealed.
Carragher said, “There is a lot to like about Martínez’s first appearances in a United shirt. The fans have taken to him as a cult figure because he is a warrior and natural leader,” he added. “But, long-term, the reservations I had when first seeing Martínez remain”.
“He looks a little too short to play centre-back in the Premier League. We saw when United struggled badly against Brentford – a game where Martínez was subbed at half-time – how difficult it is for him if sides hit long balls into the penalty area to a striker relishing such service like Ivan Toney“.
Martinez, on the other hand, has warmed to the assignment, helping United win four league games in a row and forming a powerful partnership with Raphael Varane.
Manchester United spent a lot of money to recruit Lisandro Martinez from Ajax during the summer transfer window, and despite a rocky start, the Argentine is proving why Erik ten Hag approved the deal.
This weekend, that combination will face their toughest test yet, with Manchester City, and in particular, Erling Haaland, on the opposing side. And Carragher has some advice for the United defence on how to deal with Haaland.
“The best advice Manchester United coach Erik ten Hag can offer Lisandro Martínez about dealing with Erling Haaland is to keep away from him,” the Liverpool legend wrote in his Telegraph column.
“Some battles can be won by outmuscling or outplaying an opponent. Other players need out-thinking. Martínez must be at his smartest to get the better of his Manchester City rival this weekend.”