Carragher explains why one Man Utd player will still be a ‘problem’ despite ‘fantastic’ display

Joe Williams
Man Utd defender Lisandro Martinez makes a tackle

Jamie Carragher thinks Man Utd defender Lisandro Martinez will still struggle to cope in the Premier League despite his “fantastic” display against Liverpool on Monday night.

The Argentina international was criticised following his first two Man Utd performances of the season with both Brighton and Brentford targeting the centre-back during the two matches.

Brentford boss Thomas Frank openly spoke about how they played more long balls than usual because of Martinez’s height, with a number of pundits and former players questioning whether he can be effective in the Premier League.

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The £56.7m summer signing produced a wonderful display for Man Utd in their 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Monday with goals from Jadon Sancho and Marcus Rashford helping Erik ten Hag’s side to victory.

But Carragher expects Martinez to still struggle this season in certain matches with the Man Utd defender coming up against the perfect opposition to suit his game.

Speaking about Martinez after the match, Carragher told Sky Sports: “I thought tonight would be his type of game.

“It would be more about reading the game, clever runs in behind, being tight and aggressive, rather than Liverpool playing direct football.

“He’s obviously a very aggressive player and this manager [Ten Hag] knows him better than anyone.

“That’s what he’s about, he’s a really aggressive defender, he’s a fighter, in those first couple of games he was targeted, but that was never going to be the case against Liverpool, or a Man City, but it still will come and he’ll have to deal with that.

“The thing I would say about Martinez is that he’s really aggressive, reads the game well, gets on the ball well.

“What I would say about him, because of his size, is that is a problem for him. No matter what anyone says, being 5ft 9in is a problem.

“But if I think of the best centre-back I’ve ever seen it is Franco Baresi. He was 5ft 9in, 5ft10. He didn’t play in England but you compensate for your lack of height, you have to be outstanding in everything else and that’s what Baresi was.

“Baresi organised the whole team, he was lightening quick, he brings the ball out, he’s almost 10/10 in everything else, and maybe 6/10 in the air, that’s what made him what he was.

“Martinez showed that tonight. He has to be fantastic on the ball, he has to win his duels on the floor, he has to read the game, can he organise the defence and be a warrior? If he’s really good at all of those or fantastic, that will compensate for his lack of height.

“But being 5ft 9in in the Premier League is something to worry about.”