Jamie Carragher cannot get past the height of Lisandro Martinez as a key issue, despite praising the Manchester United man in three areas.
Centre-back Martinez, who is 5ft 9in, has been heavily in the spotlight this season after his summer signing. Firstly, he was a key target for United manager Erik ten Hag, who got the best out of the player at Ajax.
What’s more, he has displaced Man Utd captain Harry Maguire in the team. Forming a solid partnership with Raphael Varane, the pair have kept two clean sheets in three games.
Martinez has therefore earned plaudits for his first few performances for his new club.
But former Liverpool centre-back Carragher, who played over 700 times for the Reds as a defender, insisted Martinez’s height will always prove a big concern for him.
“I think he’s a good player, I just wouldn’t want a centre-back who is 5ft 9in in my team,” Carragher told The Overlap. “I wouldn’t.
“We’ll see, it’s only been four games, don’t get carried away. For a defender to be 5ft 9in, and not just to play in the Premier League or any level of football, he’s got to be a good player, because that is not normal.”
Carragher admits Lisandro Martinez concerns
Carragher admitted that he has seen good things from Martinez, but reiterated his height as a worry.
“His passing is very good, he looks aggressive and he looks [like] a leader,” the pundit added in his assessment.
“He’s obviously a good player, but to play at that level at 5ft. 9in, I wouldn’t want my team or to play with someone who’s 5ft 9in as a centre-back.”
Martinez, 24, has also played seven times for Argentina and will be looking to impress at the World Cup.
Why fret until it matters?
The fact, is Martinez is impressing in a Man Utd shirt and – as a result – there is no reason to be concerned for him just yet.
He may be small for a centre-back, but he is not letting that affect his performances. And he is currently dismissing Carragher’s claims.
Yes, there may be moments further down the track when Martinez slips up and catches the eye for the wrong reasons. But until then, Man Utd fans should just enjoy having a dominant centre-back partnership once again.
Martinez is keeping Maguire out of the team – and it was clear to see why against Arsenal in Sunday’s Premier League win.
Maguire replaced Martinez in the second half and almost immediately received a yellow card. Furthermore, he almost gave a penalty away later in the game.
Martinez is showing much more composure and confidence at the back and so there is clearly no need to worry just yet.
He is only 24 and so still has a lot of learning to do in the centre-back role. Alongside Varane, there are arguably few proven defenders who can teach him more.
The France international won the World Cup in 2018 and picked up four Champions League titles with Real Madrid.
As long as United’s centre-back partnership continues as it is, these concerns shouldn’t be mentioned just yet.