Jamie Carragher praised Lisandro Martinez’s ‘aggressive’ performance in Manchester United’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool on Monday evening but insists the Argentine’s height will be a ‘problem’ for Erik ten Hag this season.
Martinez, meanwhile, started alongside Raphael Varane with Ten Hag opting to drop captain Harry Maguire to the bench.
The £56.7 million summer signing from Ajax delivered an impressive display at the heart of United’s defence, but while Carragher has acknowledged the Argentine’s performance, he believes his lack of height will be a worry.
‘I thought tonight would be his type of game,’ Carragher said of Martinez after United beat Liverpool.
‘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 fantstic 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.’
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