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Jaap Stam showers praise on Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez but urges him to step up

Jaap Stam has showered praise on Manchester United centre-back Lisandro Martinez for his brilliant performances since joining the Red Devils from Ajax in July 2022.

The Argentina international has impressed consistently and silenced the critics who predicted that he was going to struggle in the Premier League due to his height and frame.

Martinez has arguably been one of the best defenders in the English top flight since joining Man United, and while Stam loves what he has seen so far from the 25-year-old, the Red Devils legend believes there is still plenty of room for improvement in his game.

“He is a good player. He has got a great mentality, he is very good on the ball as well, but also he needs to step up,” the Man United legend said on The Overlap (at 49:24).

“He had a reasonable season in his first season. He did okay. He is still not the quickest, so you need to be careful with him.

“In very big spaces, I think that has been exploited a couple of times. Going into battles in the air he can be vulnerable, but he has a great mentality and he is a good player, but if you want to play in a certain way and you want to play possession football, you need players who can do so.”

Martinez has struggled with his fitness in recent months, with six appearances to his name so far this term after playing 45 times last term.

Unsurprisingly, Man United have lost eight out of the 18 games they have played since his last appearance.

They have been dumped out of the Carabao Cup and entirely out of Europe in his absence, and manager Erik ten Hag would be desperate to have him back in his team sooner rather than later.

While he stands at 5ft 9in, Martinez never hesitates to challenge for aerial duels with much taller opponents, and his bravery and grit are some of the qualities which set him apart from his teammates.

The 2022 World Cup winner has not reached his peak and has the potential to become better and well-rounded going forward, and much more should be expected from him in the Man United shirt in the coming seasons.

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