Jaap Stam was not surprised by the criticism around the height of Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez
Manchester United icon Jaap Stam was not surprised by the criticism around the height of centre-back Lisandro Martinez. The Argentine stands 5ft 9ins and on the defender’s arrival to the Premier League, people doubted his abilities.
The Red Devils spent £55.3 million, including add-ons, to get Martinez from Ajax. The 24-year-old has reunited with Erik ten Hag in Manchester. And after a disappointing start, the Argentine has silenced his critics with his performances.
Stam, who spent three years at United, knew people in England would make Martinez’s height an issue. Speaking to Manchester Evening News, the former Red Devil feels a lot of consideration is given to how tall centre-backs are.
“That was an easy one, the day when he signed for United, I had already said they will talk about his height.
“Over here [England], everyone thinks as a centre-back you need to be big and tall, otherwise you won’t make it.”
The Argentine defender spent three years with the United head coach in Amsterdam. And Martinez was an important part of the Dutch manager’s successful Ajax team.
Marinez has impressed at United
Ten Hag decided to bring the 24-year-old to Old Trafford. And the gaffer’s decision seems to have paid off. The Argentine has featured in every game for the Red Devils in the 2022/23 campaign.
Stam is of the opinion that Martinez’s is what Ten Hag needed. The 24-year-old has good attributes on the ball that complement the style of play the Dutch manager wants to evidently implement.
“The thing is, you need to look at the big picture of how the manager wants to play because that’s the most important thing.
“Martinez shows his quality on the ball, he shows his quality when defending and his communication around him is good.”
Martinez partnered with Harry Maguire for the first couple of games. However, the Red Devils lost both fixtures. The Argentine’s display in the 4-0 loss to Brentford was underwhelming.
However, Ten Hag has since paired Martinez with Raphael Varane in the back-four. And when the duo have started for United this season, the Old Trafford side have been victorious.
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Martinez featured for Argentina during the international break against Honduras and Jamaica. La Albiceleste won both fixtures before Lionel Scaloni’s squad will meet up again in Qatar. For now, the 24-year-old returns to Manchester as United are set to visit the Etihad Stadium for the derby next.