Tottenham centre-back Cristian Romero has named Lisandro Martinez among the two best defenders in the Premier League.
Romero himself has been hugely impressive for Tottenham since joining from Atalanta in the summer 0f 2021.
But the Argentina international avoided picking himself among the English top flight’s best, instead selecting compatriot Martinez alongside Virgil van Dijk as the top two.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Romero said: “Today, the best defender for me is Virgil van Dijk – always – and Lisandro Martinez from Manchester United. For me, they are the best in the Premier League.”
Namechecking Van Dijk comes as no surprise given his imperious displays for Liverpool since joining from Southampton in January 2018, but Lisandro’s inclusion is a bit of a surprise.
There may well be some bias given the pair play together for Argentina, but Martinez has been hugely impressive after an inauspicious start to life at Man United.
The 24-year-old was criticised for his displays in the opening two games of the Premier League season as the Red Devils lost to Brighton and Brentford.
But since Raphael Varane replaced Harry Maguire, Martinez has grown into the role and been critical in United’s winning run.
Despite his upturn in form, former United centre-back Jaap Stam says Martinez may need to consider curbing his aggression somewhat.
Stam said: “He’s a good player, I knew as soon as he arrived that people in the UK would talk about his height.
“That can be an issue as a centre-back, not being so tall, but he’s shown his quality over here in the national team and in the Champions League.
“As a player, he’s very comfortable on the ball, you can see he’s trying to find these passes in between the lines.
“Defensively, he’s very aggressive, sometimes he needs to be a little bit more aware of his opposition, not get caught or be too aggressive.
“But that’s the thing you learn in the Premier League and what you learn from playing against the big teams, better players than what he was used to in Holland and that’s what he’s picking up.
“You can see his improvements already and how he’s altered his approach. He’s working well with [Raphael] Varane and [Tyrell] Malacia on his left side.
“Fans like his determination, and his quality that we’ve seen in Holland.”