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Quotes from 2021 have emerged from Erik ten Hag, with the current Manchester United manager stating that he does not see Lisandro Martinez as a midfielder.
Fans and pundits alike has been clamouring to see the Argentine defender move into a defensive midfield role to replace the soon-to-be suspended Casemiro.
Casemiro is set to miss the next four domestic games – both in the Premier League and FA Cup – thanks to his second straight red card of the season. The Brazilian received his marching orders for a heavy challenge on Carlos Alcaraz during Man Utd’s 0-0 draw with Southampton on Sunday.
The Red Devils now have to call upon one of Marcel Sabitzer, Fred or Scott McTominay to replace Casemiro in the holding role – a trident of options which hasn’t exactly enthused United’s fans.
It seems calls to move Martinez into midfield instead will likely fall on deaf ears, however, as in an interview with ESPN while he was Ajax manager, Ten Hag stated his belief that Martinez is not a midfielder.
“Daley Blind does not have the running capacity to play in midfield. And neither does Martinez,” Ten Hag said at the time.
On this edition of The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders andRob Blanchette discuss the possibility of Lisandro Martinez covering the suspended Casemiro in midfield, Antony’s recent form, Jadon Sancho, Harry Kane and more.
If you can’t see this embed, click here to listen to the podcast!
As far as Martinez is concerned, he told the pre-match press conference before the secong leg of United’s last 16 Europa League tie with Real Betis that he’s happy to play wherever he’s needed.
“We have many good midfielders and like I have always said in many interviews, I will play wherever the coach wants to use me,” said Martinez. “I will always be available.”
Ten Hag’s decision making this time around could be influenced by his increasingly reliable partnership with Raphael Varane in central defence, which has been steadily improving despite the occasional heavy defeat.
The Promised Land, part of the 90min podcast network recently discussed Martinez’s potential capability of filling in for Casemiro and Rob Blanchette was optimism that the Argentine could cope with the demands of playing further forward if asked to do so by Ten Hag.
“The one player you’ve got that you can move out of position and into that number six is Lisandro Martinez.
“What you have in defence is options…what you don’t have in midfield is an abundance of players who can play the six. What you need in there is defensive coverage, mobility, anticipation, ball movement, bravery. I think McTominay and Fred can do some of those things, but the real things that they can’t do means that teams like Brentford can take advantage of you in midfield.
“This is a little bit of a plea to Ten Hag, because we don’t believe he’s going to do it, but I’m going to plea to Erik ten Hag to push the Argentinian ‘Butcher’ forward a little bit in the team.”