Jamie Carragher admits he was ‘wrong’ to criticise ‘brilliant’ Man Utd star
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Jamie Carragher has admitted he was ‘wrong’ to write off Lisandro Martinez during the early weeks of the season.
A number of pundits suggested the 5ft 9in defender was too small to play at centre-back for Manchester United after a few games of the 2022/23 campaign, especially after a gruelling display against Brentford in August when he was replaced at half-time.
But the 25-year-old has been superb for the Red Devils over recent weeks and has played a huge role in the club’s resurgence, which has seen them move up to third in the Premier League table. Carragher was among those who questioned whether Martinez was cut out to play in the Premier League, an opinion he admitted was misplaced.
“I can admit when I’m wrong,” said the former Liverpool man, during the latest episode of The Overlap. “Lisandro Martínez has been brilliant. To be that small and play centre back, you obviously have to be a special player.
“He’s been a big part of Manchester United’s spirit. There was a game I saw a few weeks ago and he was a sub, and someone scored a late goal, and he was right involved in the celebrations.
“At the World Cup with Argentina, we saw him have that fight – with him and Casemiro coming in, they feel more powerful and strong. I didn’t think a centre-back of that size would cope. Someone of that size will get exposed in the air – that has to happen at some stage.
“Every player has weaknesses; the best players hide them or make sure they don’t get exposed. He’s a really good player and he’s surprised me the way he’s coped.”
Carragher also claimed that things ‘feel different’ under Erik ten Hag compared to previous United managers, and added he’s brought a new ‘spirit’ to the club.
“It does feel different at Manchester United. I always felt there was some negativity around the other managers. With Jose [Mourinho], there were problems between him and the board,” said the 45-year-old.
“Louis van Gaal, the fans weren’t happy with the football. Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer], no one ever felt he was going to be a manager that could win United the league title. He didn’t have that pedigree as a manager.
“Ten Hag knows what he’s doing and there’s a spirit at United that we haven’t seen for five or six years. The connection between the fans and the club is coming back.
“There’s a spirit there, when they score a goal, they’re all celebrating. There’s something there compared to other managers that have been in similar positions.”