Lisandro Martinez has been the subject of intense debate over the last ten days, with the Argentina international already coming face-to-face with the scrutiny of English media.
Martinez was criticised for his performance in the 4-0 defeat to Brentford but recovered from that debacle to produce a showing for the ages against Liverpool, earning himself a place in the Premier League team of the week.
The former Ajax star kept all three of Liverpool’s attackers hostage throughout the game and his display justified why Erik ten Hag was so desperate to bring him to Old Trafford.
Jamie Carragher, the Sky Sports pundit, was one of the people heavily critical of Martinez following the game against Brentford. The former Liverpool defender insisted that he was ‘convinced’ that Martinez couldn’t work at United as a centre-back.
Following his perfect game against Liverpool, Carragher doubled down on those claims but admitted that there are ways to make up for his perceived lack of height.
🗣 "Being 5'9 in the Premier League is something to worry about."@Carra23 and @GNev2 agree that Lisandro Martinez can compensate for his height but admit it can still cause problems pic.twitter.com/2fewqOczIT
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) August 22, 2022
“5”9 (175 cm) as a centre-back is a problem,” Carragher told Football Daily after United comprehensively ran out 2-1 winners against Liverpool. “But if I think of the best centre-back I’ve ever seen play, it was Franco Baresi – he was 5″9, 5″10.”
“Number one, he didn’t play in England but what it means is – to compensate for your lack of height and being good in the air and maybe getting dominated, you have to be outstanding in everything else and that was Baresi was.
“Baresi organises the whole team, he’s lightning quick, he brings the ball out. He’s maybe ten out of ten in everything else and maybe six out of ten in the air. So that’s what made him what he was.
“So for Martinez, tonight he showed that. He has to be fantastic on the ball, he has to win all his duels on the floor. He has to read the game, can he organise that defence and be a warrior?
“And if he’s really good at all those – fantastic. It’ll compensate for his lack of height but being 5″9 in the Premier League is something to worry about, of course it is.”
Carragher’s praise of Martinez will undeniably not be as loud as his criticism last week but United’s newest fan favourite will have faced these doubts before.
After that performance, he has every United fan on his side and those supporters will be hoping for much of the same against Southampton on Saturday as Ten Hag eyes back-to-back wins.