‘I don’t care about criticism’ – Man Utd centre-back Martinez hits back at critics of his height

Date published: Monday 26th September 2022 2:53 - Joe Williams

Man Utd defender Lisandro Martinez waits to control the ball

Man Utd defender Lisandro Martinez says he doesn’t “care about criticism” over his height after fulfilling his “dream” to play for the club.

The Argentina international moved to Old Trafford in the summer transfer window in a £56.7m from Eredivisie outfit Ajax.

There were rumours that other clubs, including Arsenal, were keen on signing Martinez but Man Utd won the race as Erik ten Hag went about strengthening his defence.


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But Martinez’s 5ft 9in frame has seen several pundits doubt his ability to succeed at Man Utd with Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher one former player expecting the 24-year-old to struggle.

Martinez has won the fans over at Man Utd with a number of strong performances early on this season with Carragher admitting he was “fantastic” in their 2-1 victory over Liverpool in August.

However, despite praise for that performance, Carragher still reckons Martinez’s height is “something to worry about” for Man Utd fans.

Carragher said on Sky Sports at the time: “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.”

But Martinez has hit back at the critics of his height and is happy to be playing for “a huge club like Manchester United”.

Martinez told TyC Sports: “I don’t care about criticism. I believe in myself and I trust my abilities.

“I always worked hard. That’s what will make me have the results I want.

“To be honest, it was a dream come true to play for a huge club like Manchester United, especially to play in the Premier League, which is one of the best leagues in the world. I am really happy.”

 

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