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Jaap Stam Exclusive: Martinez Can Help Varane And Maguire

Former Manchester United star Jaap Stam believes that Lisandro Martinez can help Raphael Varane and Harry Maguire raise their game this season. The Argentina international arrived from Ajax for £47million earlier this week – and will reunite with new Red Devils boss Erik ten Hag, who is looking to implement the same possession-based system he employed in the Netherlands. Stam feels that Martinez’s qualities on the ball make him the perfect candidate to bring the best out of whichever centre-back partners him, while helping the team to play out from the back.


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Martinez Bring Ball Playing Ability

Speaking exclusively to Genting, he said: “Martinez can help Varane and Maguire. 

“We’ve seen that Varane and Maguire sometimes struggle to play out from the back and it's not always easy for them to do that, but I also think that they haven’t been helped by the players in front of them. 

“He [Martinez] is gonna bring a lot of ball playing ability. He’s a defender that is very easy on the eye and he has that aggressive nature that you expect from an Argentinian defender – he’s tough, and he is very clever in the way that he positions himself. 

“I always liked Varane as a player, but the thing is that he's had a lot of injuries in Madrid and now we’ve seen that at United. 

“You never know what you're gonna get with them in terms of playing a full season. In his first season, he's shown that he can't last the distance, so that's why you need to bring somebody else in as well who has the quality to do well. 

“Harry Maguire had a tough season as well and a lot of people are always talking about him, his performances and the amount of money that he cost. 

“Of course, we all expect him to do better and I think he has the potential to make a difference at United, especially playing under a manager like Ten Hag and how he wants to play. 

“That’s why he is so determined to bring in [Barcelona midfielder] Frenkie de Jong, that is why he went all in for Martinez, because these two players are so comfortable on the ball and can really help the team dominate possession and play a certain way.”

Jaap Stam Exclusive: United Need More Recruits

Jaap Stam Exclusive: United Need More Recruits

Size Not A Problem

Concerns have been raised about 5ft 9in Martinez’s height as a centre-back, but Stam does not expect it to prevent the 24-year-old from having a big impact in England.

“Size-wise, he [Martinez] isn’t the tallest, but he makes up for that with his awareness and timing,” he added.

“Despite his size, he wins a lot of headers, which is important and, as a centre-back – you don’t need to be big to do well in England, you need to be clever. 

“A lot of people will mention his height, and he will lose a few battles in the air, but I think Ten Hag is looking at his versatility – he can play comfortably in a few positions – and what he can bring to his team with his ability on the ball. 

“He is a perfect player for the way that Ten Hag wants to play and he knows exactly what he is getting from their time together at Ajax. 

“As a centre-back, you will see him step into midfield because he is so comfortable on the ball. 

“He can also play as a six in midfield and I wouldn't be surprised to see him there in certain games because he is very aggressive, he is great at picking up second balls and he can find the right pass going forward. 

“I think he is a great signing for United and I expect him to be a very good asset for the team.”

 

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