Ex-Man Utd defender picks out one Red Devils star who has been ‘transformative’ this season

Man Utd defender Lisandro Martinez celebrates scoring a goal Credit: Alamy
Man Utd defender Lisandro Martinez celebrates scoring a goal Credit: Alamy

Former Man Utd defender Wes Brown has heaped praise on Lisandro Martinez for having a “transformative effect” on the entire defence this season.

The Argentina international signed for the Red Devils in the summer for £56.7m from Eredivisie side Ajax as Man Utd provided Erik ten Hag with several new players ahead of the season.

Martinez has been a massive hit with the Man Utd supporters and Brown thinks the Argentinian has made the Red Devils “more secure” this term.

Brown told Lord Ping: “You have to look at the teams that are above you of course, but I think he compares well with any of the defenders from Arsenal or Manchester City. As do United’s – I think United’s defence is really starting to gel now.

“It took a little bit of time for those players to find their rhythm, the best combinations, but over the last few months United have looked more secure.

“Luke Shaw has been fantastic and has shown great versatility in his game recently playing at centre back. Wan-Bissaka has found some form again, Dalot has been playing, so competition is really healthy at the moment.

“You can see that ten Hag is looking for the best combinations and he isn’t afraid to rotate his defenders, which is a good sign of the faith he has in his players.”

Brown added: “I think that Shaw’s playing so well because he knows he has the full confidence of the manager in either position.

“Lindelof played against Leicester, Maguire has also featured, so credit to ten Hag for shuffling his deck and giving players an opportunity, which they all seem to have taken. You can see that he has confidence in the entire defensive unit and he isn’t afraid to put players into the starting eleven.

“I honestly do think that Lisandro Martinez has had a transformative effect on the entire United defence. Varane and Martinez complement each other brilliantly.

“There is confidence in the team at the back which gives United’s attacking players a greater sense of freedom. He has given the defence more confidence, they are playing higher now and engaging the opposition aggressively. He has been instrumental in setting the tempo at the back for United. ”

Man Utd are now just three points behind second-placed Man City and five points adrift of Premier League leaders Arsenal with Ten Hag’s side now definitely in a title race.

On their 3-0 victory over Leicester City over the weekend, former Man Utd defender Brown continued: “It was a good performance from United against Leicester. I thought this was going to be a tricky game for United and, it looked like it was heading that way after the first ten minutes – De Gea kept United in the game.

“Leicester had a couple of great opportunities and, if they put those away, it could have been a very different game, but after that, United started to dominate.

“I thought that with Leicester playing such a high line, that was dangerous given the form that Marcus Rashford is in at the moment and also with the pace that Garnacho has. After United scored the first goal, which they had to work hard for, you could see the focus of the team changed. The defence was solid and the result never looked in doubt.

“It was pleasing to see that performance with key players missing. United know that they will be playing every three days from now until the end of the season if they want to be successful, so the manager will be delighted with the performance of some of his squad players.

“Up front, when you have Marcus (Rashford) in the form he’s in, when he goes one-against-one you know he isn’t going to miss. He wants to score as many goals as he can and is getting better and better with every game.”

On whether Man Utd can win the Premier League title, Brown replied to Lord Ping: “I think Manchester United are in the title race, but very quietly. They will need Arsenal and Manchester City to drop points, but if United can keep picking up points – I do think they would have to win pretty much all of their games now – they definitely have a slight chance.

“I think Arsenal are the favourites. They have kept going and a lot of people, including myself, thought that City would overtake them with the experience that they have. That hasn’t happened yet and that has opened the door for United to join the race. For me, it’s Arsenal’s to lose and they have a massive game against City in April.”

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