Man Utd: Gary Neville says Lisandro Martinez cannot play in a back four | Soccer

Gary Neville tells Erik ten Hag the only role Lisandro Martinez can play in Manchester United's defence

The Argentine had 45 minutes to forget against Brentford (Pictures: Getty / Sky Sports)

Gary Neville isn’t convinced Lisandro Martinez can play in central defense after an ordeal in the back four Manchester United’s defeat by Brentford on Saturday.

The Argentine, a £56.7million signing from Ajax, was mobbed at times by Ivan Toney and easily passed by Ben Mee on a set piece before being pulled off United at half-time, four goals down.

Martinez’s height – he measures just 5ft 9in – was flagged as a potential problem before his move to the Premier League and Brentford boss Thomas Frank afterwards admitted they were deliberately targeting it.

United legend Neville, who was also on the short side at centre-back before switching to right-back, believes Martinez remains a target and believes the only solution is to play with a back three – or him entirely to remove from the defense .

Asked if there was a role in defense Martinez could play, Neville told Sky Sports: “Maybe on the left flank in a back three – that could potentially work.

“Maybe play in midfield because we know he can do that. I think he has tenacity and to be fair I wouldn’t judge him at all at the moment.

“But to say he could play Toney and Toney in a back four at Brentford [Bryan] Mbeumo – he can’t physically keep up with them.

Gary Neville tells Erik ten Hag the only role Lisandro Martinez can play in Manchester United's defence

Martinez also struggled against Brighton last weekend (Image: Getty)

“When I was younger I couldn’t do that when I played at centre-back and I thought I was a decent centre-back who knew my position and the game. But I couldn’t because Gary Pallister kept coming back to swap places with me.

‘When I saw him [Martinez] swap with [Harry] Maguire in the first half on the long throws, that reminded me of Pally, who used to trade places with me.

“When you have to switch positions at centre-back to compensate for the other one, that’s just not great and it’s been happening all the time. They targeted him in that first half.

His colleague Jamie Redknapp was also scathing afterward, saying of Martinez: “If you sign a 5ft 9in center back he’s not going to compete in this league.

“He might be ok in the Dutch league where it’s not quite as physical, but when you play here you know teams try week in week out to uncover every weakness, like Brentford did today, like Brighton did last week has done and how Liverpool will do it.

“Every team will play on him because he’s 5ft 9” and not big enough. He’s actually a small midfielder, let alone a small centre-back.

“He’ll need time. Maybe he can play in midfield. Technically he’s a good player, he’s played in the Dutch league and he knows the game. But as a centre-back in this league, I think it’s really difficult and you get exposed very quickly.”

MORE: ‘We knew we had a weapon’ – Brentford manager confirms targeting Manchester United star in stunning win

MORE: Rio Ferdinand says ‘laughing stock’ Manchester United ‘might as well bring Sam Allardyce’

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/08/14/man-utd-gary-neville-says-lisandro-martinez-cant-play-in-a-back-four-17180404/ Man Utd: Gary Neville says Lisandro Martinez cannot play in a back four | Soccer

Nate Jones

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