Patrice Evra has explained why he is such a fan of new Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez, while taking aim at former Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker.
Following a summer transfer from Ajax, Lisandro Martinez has quickly become a fans’ favourite — as it doesn’t surprise us that he is starring for Argentina at the World Cup.
A number of pundits such as Jamie Carragher questioned whether Martinez could perform at a high level in the Premier League due to his height, but that has not been an issue for the Argentine.
It could even be argued that Martinez has been the best centre-back in England this season — topping a list full of defenders far taller than him.
Former left-back Patrice Evra thinks Martinez has been one of United’s best signings in recent years. The Frenchman adds that pundits who criticised the 24-year-old’s physique made him laugh.
Evra has likened Martinez to Michael Carrick while managing to have a dig at former Arsenal defender Per Mertesacker.
“This is one of the best signings we’ve had for years at Manchester United,” Evra said on the Vibe with Five YouTube channel.
“It’s because of his fighting spirit. That’s what United fans want to see – those players have to bleed for the shirt.
“People were talking about his height and I was laughing. Some people said I was too small when I arrived in the Premier League as well. When you play with that heart and passion, size doesn’t matter.
“When he gets the ball, he is so clean and composed. Mexico were pressing everywhere [in the World Cup Group C game] but every time he got the ball he was calm and playing forward. That’s what I love.
“He doesn’t play those one-metre balls to the next player. This is easy. When I see those stats – I remember Mertesacker at Arsenal, the stats said he never lost the ball – but he was passing it one metre, I can do that every day.
“But Martinez puts the ball through the lines like Michael Carrick.That’s what he does and I love that. What a player, what a player.”
Arsenal were unsuccessful in their attempts to sign Martinez in the summer. He ultimately decided to join a bigger club and reunite with Erik ten Hag at Old Trafford.
Evra was joined by Rio Ferdinand, who is another former player that has been left impressed by Martinez this season. He added: “All the other aspects of his game are great. I remember speaking to Edwin van der Sar and other people at Ajax about him and they all said he was aggressive and tenacious but also great on the ball and can pass. Top defenders now need to have both sides of the game.”