Lisandro Martinez has brought one unique trait that Manchester United have been missing for a decade

October 22, 2022

Away from what those in the media had to say about Lisandro Martinez in his early weeks of joining Manchester United, the Argentina international has been flawless.

In United’s opening two games of the season, Martinez was partnered alongside club captain Harry Maguire, in which Martinez did show his qualities on and off the ball.

However, the only topic of discussion was the fact that the Reds had lost back-to-back games in the Premier League against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford in embarrassing fashion.

Since then, United’s campaign has drastically improved, though there has been bumps in the road, with Erik ten Hag’s side losing to Real Sociedad in the Europa League and city rivals Manchester City, but Martinez has been heavily involved, and a bright spark, in the majority of those games.

Aside from Martinez’s warrior-like defending and aggression, United’s No.6 is a fantastic ball player, with that being one of the reasons why Ten Hag brought him to Old Trafford with him from Ajax.

United’s previous Dutch manager Louis van Gaal brought left-footed centre-back Daley Blind to the club in his first summer in charge, but Martinez possesses qualities like no other defender to play for the club in recent years.

With Maguire and Victor Lindelof being the favoured duo in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tenure at the club, the team lacked a balance from back to front, and Ten Hag addressed that instantly with the signing of Martinez and left-footed right winger Antony.

What does Martinez give Erik ten Hag’s side?

Martinez gives the Reds a great dimension in working their way out of a press, creating angles that a right-footer simply cannot in his position.

Although United weren’t as well coached under Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick last campaign as they are with Ten Hag, they did struggle to play out from the back, with both central defenders being right-footed.

Per 90 this season, Martinez has averaged a pass completion of 88.7%, boasting a staggering 5.82 progressive passes, and these aren’t irrelevant stats in today’s game.

It’s often these passes that allow United to get further up the pitch and transition from defence to attack in quick succession, with fellow centre-back Raphael Varane not as good on the ball and distribution one of goalkeeper David de Gea’s lesser qualities, though this has improved in recent games.