Graeme Souness insists defender Lisandro Martinez is ‘not terribly good on the ball’ and believes the Argentine will still be ‘found out’ in the Premier League.
Martinez stands at 5ft 9in tall with Souness and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher among the pundits who were adamant the Argentina international would be too short to thrive in the Premier League.
The 24-year-old however has had a transformative effect on Erik ten Hag’s defence this season, playing every minute in the league since the 4-0 defeat to Brentford in the second week of the season.
Having brought leadership and resilience to United’s backline, Martinez’s ability on the ball has also helped lift United with his penchant for picking a pass in between the lines firmly on show during Sunday’s 1-0 win over United.
While Souness has been impressed with his aggression levels, pointing back to the job he did keeping Mohamed Salah quiet in United’s victory over Liverpool in September, he remains unconvinced by Martinez’s ability.
‘That worry for me is still there,’ Souness told , referring to the doubts he had over the defender following his summer arrival from Ajax. ‘He has not got the physique to take on the big guys.
‘I think he has bought a bit of aggression to them. We have played 12 games. There is a lot to like about him.
‘I like his aggression. If you think back to the first thing he did in the game against Liverpool at Old Trafford, he’s gone right through Mo Salah.
‘For the rest of the game, Salah was looking over his shoulder. I like that. That’s professional sport.
‘But I just feel when you are that size you will get caught, you will get pinned in the box.
‘I still don’t think he is terribly quick, I don’t think he is terribly good on the ball. But he’s got something about him that makes other people play.
Asked if Martinez will be ‘found out’ in the Premier League, Souness added: ‘Yeah he will do. Common sense tells you that.
‘At 5ft 9in playing against guys who are 6ft 2in, he will get pinned occasionally outsprinted occasionally and he will get caught.’
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