Graeme Souness left with egg on his face after Martinez criticism
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Graeme Souness has been proved wrong on Manchester United star Lisandro Martinez after the Scotsman suggested he expected the centre-back to be found out in the Premier League in a similar way to Paul Pogba. The Argentina international has been largely excellent since joining the Red Devils in the summer and scored his first goal for the club in the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sunday.
United boss Erik ten Hag raised eyebrows over the summer when he launched a bid to steal Martinez from former club Ajax, with some fans and pundits harbouring concerns over his height. The 25-year-old stands at just 5’9” – a far cry from the traditional image of a Premier League centre-half.
Souness was one of the first to criticise the signing and doubled down on his view in October despite Martinez finding his feet and impressing after a shaky start.
“We’ve played 12 games,” he told talkSPORT. “There’s a lot to like about him, I like his aggression. I just feel when you are that size you will get caught. You will get pinned in the box. We are talking about the Premier League. He will [get found out]. At 5ft 9 and he’s playing against guys who are 6ft 2 then he will get pinned occasionally.
“I don’t think he’s terribly quick, I don’t think he’s terribly good on the ball, but he makes other people play and has real aggression, which Argentinians tend to have.
“He will get out sprinted occasionally and he will get caught. That’s my take on it. I can’t tell you a centre back in English football, in my time of the game, that have been successful being that size.”
Souness then suggested that he would be proved corrected, citing his previous criticisms of Pogba. The 69-year-old was a constant critic of the French midfielder and feels he was justified in the end – something he believed would later apply to Martinez.
“Can I just throw this out, who was the first person to call Pogba out as a pudding?” he asked host Jim White to which he received confirmation that it was him.
“I rest my case,” he continued. “I can remember the first time I saw him, in the semi-final of the Champions League, Juve against Real Madrid.I was doing it with Jamie Redknapp and Thierry [Henry] and Jamie was raving about this young midfield player.
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“I came away thinking ‘he’s not for me’. He never has been and I think I was proved right. He will be regarded as an unmitigated failure at Manchester United.
“I’m liking Martinez. With Martinez, there’s a lot to like about him but I think he will get found out in our football.”
It looks increasingly unlikely that Souness will be proved right on Martinez given his continually strong performances in a United jersey, keeping taller colleagues like Harry Maguire out of the side.
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