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2022-23 Performances


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Aretak

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People here are also desperate to try and blame the new defender because he's small? doesn't matter how he plays though, small = bad right?
Small does equal bad for a central defender, yes. People love to cite wild exceptions to that rule such as Cannavaro, but there's a reason why it's always the same few names brought up every time, and that's because being 5'9" is less than ideal for a top level central defender and there have been very few world class ones who've been that height. Thomas Frank literally said in his post-match interview that they targeted Martinez because of his height, after seeing Brighton do so successfully last week. He's been identified by opposition managers as the weak link in United's back line two games in. Every other team in the league is going to do exactly the same thing for the rest of the season, putting their biggest attacking players directly up against him and trying to bully him. That isn't to say he can't possibly come good and prove everybody wrong, but it's worrying currently that the club has signed a player for nearly £60m and Brentford's manager is gleefully telling the media that they were delighted to see his name on the team sheet.
 

Annihilate Now!

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How exactly do you define the best of LVG team ? Especially considering we haven't seen the best of ETH till now ? That's why I called it as WUM because that's just complaining for the sake of it.

I define the best LVG team to be the one that went on that run in 2015 that included beating City and Liverpool, like I assume most people do. Do you not think that team would beat this current team? (and this is not ETH team in my opinion)

We'll only see the best of ETH when he has pretty much a different line up to this one. I personally don't believe we can be a good side with our current personel... That's not a wind up, it's an opinion. Our current side isn't anywhere near a top 6 side.

Complaining is all we can do at the moment... Hard to be cheerful about anything currently.
 

Irwin99

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I'm not writing this guy off at all. From the accounts i've read/heard he's got a very good character and is mentally very tough. Let's hope we see this in the games to come.

Given our midfield issues, i wouldn't mind seeing him given a few games there considering we have no recognized DM. Failing that, i'd like to see a back 3 with him, Varane, and one of Maguire or Lindelof, just to give the defence a bit more solidity.
 

sullydnl

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My only argument is that fans aren't being gaslighted by the media into thinking that his height/ aerial prowess/ physicality (whatever way anyone wants to say it) are an issue.
It's the degree to which it's being highlighted that's the issue.

Yesterday what our defence did in possession was clearly a much bigger problem than how they dealt with aerial threat. But for some reason it was Martinez' height that became a talking point after the game.

People are saying Frank alluded to it, but only after the reporter directly brought up the subject of Martinez' height to him. Ditto Toney and ETH, with Toney stating that our inability to deal with the press was the actual issue and ETH rightly pointing out that height had nothing to do with the goals we conceded.

It's not that the media are gaslighting people into thinking his physicality is an issue. It's that it's being presented as the core issue yesterday, when it simply wasn't. And I can only think that's because pointing to Martinez' height requires little actual insight or fits a pre-existing narrative people had.

Because if Martinez was 6ft 2 and played the last two games in exactly the same way, his aerial ability wouldn't have been mentioned. We'd just have heard the more generic (and accurate) "he needs to adapt to the pace of the PL" type comments.
 

bond19821982

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I define the best LVG team to be the one that went on that run in 2015 that included beating City and Liverpool, like I assume most people do. Do you not think that team would beat this current team? (and this is not ETH team in my opinion)

We'll only see the best of ETH when he has pretty much a different line up to this one. I personally don't believe we can be a good side with our current personel... That's not a wind up, it's an opinion. Our current side isn't anywhere near a top 6 side.

Complaining is all we can do at the moment... Hard to be cheerful about anything currently.
You answered your own question though. You are comparing a team that was settled after many games with a team that just started. Don't you think it's unfair ?
 

Pogue Mahone

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https://ballerzbantz.com/2022/08/13...-case-study-of-lisandro-martinez-vs-brighton/

Interesting breakdown of Martinez vs Brighton (framed around Aerial Duel stats) which (I feel) illustrates the issues some (@Annihilate Now! , @Pogue Mahone @Leftback99 @Chief123 @Bobski etc) have had with his performances (with Stills,Gifs and infographics).

I'm sure there will be something similar produced for the Brentford game.

From what I can tell nobody is saying "He is the reason we are shit" it's moreso "He isn't making us any more defensively solid".

Not "He's THE problem in defence" (Just look at Maguire/ Dalot/ Shaw performance threads) more "He's A problem in defence".
I think that covers a lot of what went wrong against Brentford too. It wasn’t about him being consistently out-jumped so much as the opposition being able to ping a long, high ball towards a target man who would isolate Martinez and receive it more or less uncontested. That’s happened a lot in the first two games and will continue to happen a lot. This would obviously be less of an issue if everyone round him was a bit more switched on about winning the second ball (if we, shock horror, played a central midfielder who knows how to defend) but it’s still a new problem we need to deal with. And signing a very expensive new player should really solve problems, not create them.
 

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You answered your own question though. You are comparing a team that was settled after many games with a team that just started. Don't you think it's unfair ?
This team is largely the same team as last season...

Even after a year under ETH this side wouldn't be that good, because ultimately, the players aren't good enough.
 

bond19821982

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This team is largely the same team as last season...

Even after a year under ETH this side wouldn't be that good, because ultimately, the players aren't good enough.
But it's a different manager ? I can argue that peak Ole team would beat peak LVG team- it doesn't tell anything and that's not the point.
 

Annihilate Now!

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But it's a different manager ? I can argue that peak Ole team would beat peak LVG team- it doesn't tell anything and that's not the point.
Well the over reaching point was that this is the worst side/collection of players I've ever seen us have (hardly a hot take I know) ... That was my way of illustrating it.
 

A-man

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Because if Martinez was 6ft 2 and played the last two games in exactly the same way, his aerial ability wouldn't have been mentioned. We'd just have heard the more generic (and accurate) "he needs to adapt to the pace of the PL" type comments.
It goes both ways. People heard he’s good on the ball and now praising him for that like he’s prime Xavi. He’s been ok on the ball, but it hasn’t been the next level passing compared to what we already have.

However the third goal, I really wonder if Maguire had failed to defend that.
 

sullydnl

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It goes both ways. People heard he’s good on the ball and now praising him for that like he’s prime Xavi. He’s been ok on the ball, but it hasn’t been the next level passing compared to what we already have.

However the third goal, I really wonder if Maguire had failed to defend that.
Yep, the bold is fair too. I'm certainly not saying his performances don't deserve criticism, just that what is actually being criticised is heavily framed by his height rather than his actual performances.

If people were saying he hasn't been as good as they'd hoped on the ball, he's put himself in bad positions at times, he's struggled with the intensity of what's happening around him and that he basically hasn't made any real difference over having someone like Lindelof in the team then I'd have no real argument bar "give him time".
 

jeff_goldblum

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It almost feels bad ripping on Martínez aerial weakness in his performance thread, because it's not really his fault. If he had qualities Ten Hag wants in the team, its the manager's job to find a way to fit him in which doesn't leave us vulnerable.

He shouldn't be put in a situation where he's having to constantly challenge big centre-forwards for high balls.
 

RacingClub

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Yesterday what our defence did in possession was clearly a much bigger problem than how they dealt with aerial threat.
Agreed with that, however that won't be discussed in here because Martinez wasn't responsible for that.

Also it makes EtH decision to take him off even more mind boggling (if it wasn't due to the aerial pressure) as he was the best performer with the ball at his feet in defence first half.



People are saying Frank alluded to it, but only after the reporter directly brought up the subject of Martinez' height to him.
Well yeah , that would signal to me that it was an obvious tactic that was easily picked up by TV etc and the manager was happy to talk about it.

I don't think Frank would be led by Jamie Rednapp to discuss something that he didn't agree with.

Frank specifically references the Brighton game as why they chose to go down that route too (unprompted) and many criticisms of Martinez from that game were laughed off too.

Ditto Toney and ETH, with Toney stating that our inability to deal with the press was the actual issue and ETH rightly pointing out that height had nothing to do with the goals we conceded.
Yeah that was a bigger issue (which won't be discussed in here because Martinez wasn't a contributing factor to that issue but I'm sure it's being discussed in Maguire and DDGs threads) and once again doesn't make sense why EtH chose to take off a guy who was dealing with it better than most (since he says it wasn't a height issue).

It's not that the media are gaslighting people into thinking his physicality is an issue. It's that it's being presented as the core issue yesterday, when it simply wasn't.
I don't think that it's being presented as the core issue in here either, it's being presented as one of many issues (once again all those other issues are being highlighted in various threads all over the place).


And I can only think that's because pointing to Martinez' height requires little actual insight or fits a pre-existing narrative people had.
Actually I think the "little actual insight" applies more to people thinking that his height/ physical stature/ physicality isn't a problem and only consider direct goals and assists as evidence of an issue.

Because if Martinez was 6ft 2 and played the last two games in exactly the same way, his aerial ability wouldn't have been mentioned. We'd just have heard the more generic (and accurate) "he needs to adapt to the pace of the PL" type comments.
Well yeah I do believe that that's what they would say , because there would be the possibility that physically he could compete in that way eventually but that isn't the case here.

In this case it's going to take system improvements / new signings ( most likely)and time to cover for that issue.
 

Bobski

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Not worried at all. We saw Ben White get bullied by Brentford last season and all the focus on that.
And Ben White has been pushed put to full back because Arsenal realized it was a problem, and their first choice RB is injured.
 

spiriticon

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It almost feels bad ripping on Martínez aerial weakness in his performance thread, because it's not really his fault. If he had qualities Ten Hag wants in the team, its the manager's job to find a way to fit him in which doesn't leave us vulnerable.

He shouldn't be put in a situation where he's having to constantly challenge big centre-forwards for high balls.
He's being targeted on purpose it seems, it's not really our tactics then leave him vulnerable.

He'll have to find a way to get round it. Bulk up and better timing in his jumps.

Also, Maguire can barely cover for himself, nevermind Martinez too
 

A-man

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Yesterday what our defence did in possession was clearly a much bigger problem than how they dealt with aerial threat. But for some reason it was Martinez' height that became a talking point after the game.
About possession. I think the way we were unable to win back the ball or to defend at the fourth goal was a bit worrying. They basically cleared the ball from their own box and we had no defender even close recover or attack that ball.

In two games we have conceded goals from forward runs and balls in behind the CBs, from being unorganised and weak at defending in the box, and from a counter when we lost possession. And added to that we have lost possession several times when pressed, sometimes in very dangerous situations. It doesn’t look good at all.

I don’t think we’ll see the Maguire - Martinez pair in the next game.
 

jeff_goldblum

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He's being targeted on purpose it seems, it's not really our tactics then leave him vulnerable.

He'll have to find a way to get round it. Bulk up and better timing in his jumps.

Also, Maguire can barely cover for himself, nevermind Martinez too
Not sure I get the logic here. When you're playing four at the back, the two centrebacks are generally responsible for dealing with any aerial balls which come into their area of the defensive third, often in direct contention with an opposing forward. Playing two centrebacks (rather than three) is a tactical decision, which in this case leaves Martínez contesting a bunch of aerial balls against bigger players. Obviously teams have specifically targeted him, but even if they didn't he'd still be dealing with a lot of aerial challenges because that's part of what a centreback in a two has to do (as opposed to in a three, where it's not uncommon for one of the centrebacks to be smaller because the other two have the aerial threat covered).

Which I guess is the point of the bit you bolded. I'm not saying it's part of our plan for Martínez to constantly be losing headers. But it does seem to be part of our plan for Martínez to play in a position where he has to contest a lot of them, and it absolutely shouldn't be.
 

Conor

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It goes both ways. People heard he’s good on the ball and now praising him for that like he’s prime Xavi. He’s been ok on the ball, but it hasn’t been the next level passing compared to what we already have.

However the third goal, I really wonder if Maguire had failed to defend that.
It hasn't been next level passing, but he's completely different to the other CBs we have, because he releases the ball quickly.

If Maguire et al had the brain power to just play a pass without spending so much time on it(be it an incisive pass, or a sideways one), we would see a lot less of these pressurised situations at the back.
 

charlenefan

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Can he play LB? There were rumours when Arsenal wanted him that's where they saw him playing for them (before they went for Zinchenko)

Im so sick of seeing Shaw and maybe too soon for Malacia
 

Bobski

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Can he play LB? There were rumours when Arsenal wanted him that's where they saw him playing for them (before they went for Zinchenko)

Im so sick of seeing Shaw and maybe too soon for Malacia
Ten Hag didn't think he had the running power for midfield in Holland, and he is not quick over distance so I think that is a non starter,
 

Dominos

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https://ballerzbantz.com/2022/08/13...-case-study-of-lisandro-martinez-vs-brighton/

Interesting breakdown of Martinez vs Brighton (framed around Aerial Duel stats) which (I feel) illustrates the issues some (@Annihilate Now! , @Pogue Mahone @Leftback99 @Chief123 @Bobski etc) have had with his performances (with Stills,Gifs and infographics).

I'm sure there will be something similar produced for the Brentford game.

From what I can tell nobody is saying "He is the reason we are shit" it's moreso "He isn't making us any more defensively solid".

Not "He's THE problem in defence" (Just look at Maguire/ Dalot/ Shaw performance threads) more "He's A problem in defence".
I think that covers a lot of what went wrong against Brentford too. It wasn’t about him being consistently out-jumped so much as the opposition being able to ping a long, high ball towards a target man who would isolate Martinez and receive it more or less uncontested. That’s happened a lot in the first two games and will continue to happen a lot. This would obviously be less of an issue if everyone round him was a bit more switched on about winning the second ball (if we, shock horror, played a central midfielder who knows how to defend) but it’s still a new problem we need to deal with. And signing a very expensive new player should really solve problems, not create them.
That's very interesting article and part of the reason why the eye test and deductive reasoning is so important. During the summer saga I couldn't for a second buy into the idea that because Martinez had decent domestic stats last season that he could come into the premier league and meet the standard we need for aerial dominance and physicality. Logically it just seemed incredibly unlikely.

Look at this quote from the article predicting that he'd either be dropped or moved to another position for Brentford. They weren't far wrong given he ended up being subbed at half time.
I would not be surprised to see Lisandro dropped or moved to another position to accommodate during the match.
 

Bobski

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That's very interesting article and part of the reason why the eye test and deductive reasoning is so important. During the summer saga I couldn't for a second buy into the idea that because Martinez had decent domestic stats last season that he could come into the premier league and meet the standard we need for aerial dominance and physicality. Logically it just seemed incredibly unlikely.

Look at this quote from the article predicting that he'd either be dropped or moved to another position for Brentford. They weren't far wrong given he ended up being subbed at half time.
And this also illustrates how Lindelof can have deceptively decent aerial stats despite the majority of those who watch him knowing that it is a weakness in his game. Don't choose to contest and you don't get a failed contest, goes the same for tackles. Only go for the ones you think you will win and you will keep great numbers. Guys who are better in the air will contest everything, even the situations where it is 70/30 against them.
 

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And this also illustrates how Lindelof can have deceptively decent aerial stats despite the majority of those who watch him knowing that it is a weakness in his game. Don't choose to contest and you don't get a failed contest, goes the same for tackles. Only go for the ones you think you will win and you will keep great numbers. Guys who are better in the air will contest everything, even the situations where it is 70/30 against them.
I always try to differentiate between a forgivable weakness and a major weakness.

A centre back not being quick is forgivable. Being as slow and immobile as Maguire is not. The weakness is too major to the point where it's going to be a constant liability. I suspect Martinez will go the same way except it's his lack of height and physicality that's the issue.

Lindelof is just a defender without many strengths and some forgivable weaknesses, which adds up to not being good enough for us. He's not quick but he's not Maguire level slow, he's not great in their but I don't think it's a major liability any more.
 

bugmat

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Though that he was set up by his defence. No way the shorted man should be contesting ball in our box 2 on 1, Keeper as usual doesnt command his box, maguire 3 feet away gormless instead fo doing the one job eh should be great at with his size and head.
 

Adam-Utd

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Think for the immediate future ETH should take him out the firing line with Varane fit.

i'd play him as a CDM personally. He can do everything he wants as a CB as a deep midfield. No reason he can't be doing that role he's asking Eriksen to do.

Eriksen is hardly a great runner either.
 

Giant Midget

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I don’t think he’s been that exposed in the air; but the worst part of this is that if managers think he’s exposed, they’re going to play long balls and by-passing any press by us. We’re not able to put any pressure on the ball because the chance isn’t there in the first place.

Combine that with the fact at how awful we are at winning second balls anyway, it was like men against boys out there.
 

Chief123

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I don’t think he’s been that exposed in the air; but the worst part of this is that if managers think he’s exposed, they’re going to play long balls and by-passing any press by us. We’re not able to put any pressure on the ball because the chance isn’t there in the first place.

Combine that with the fact at how awful we are at winning second balls anyway, it was like men against boys out there.
No matter how well we as fans or our manager thinks Martinez will do against physicality in this league, the truth is every manager of opposing teams will fancy their chances to target him. They’ll believe they have a weakness which they can exploit.

Now obviously Martinez will have to take that challenge on and show he has it in him to overcome any challenges and show he is reliable to be a solid CB. If he’s able to show that consistently, then naturally managers will realise there isn’t a weakness there.

But if he shows signs of weakness or potential weakness every game, then naturally he will continue to get targeted.

Brentford manager admitted they targeted Martinez during the game. It wasn’t an obvious exploitation so most will argue Martinez overcame the challenge. But I’ve no doubt we will see him targeted a lot more in the league. Most likely the next game against Liverpool with Nunez.
 

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There is a player in there. He reads the game well and looks very good on the ball. He didn't do much wrong other than the third goal, which was more a slip than a height issue. Any player could have done that.

He will be fine, as long as we get a true DM in front of him.
That won't stop him losing so many aerial contests.
Absolutely certain he’ll come good, once (if) ETH is able to stamp his ideas on the team and get them to execute it out on the pitch.

The worry is that we’ve signed him prematurely, and that it will never happen because we didn’t prioritise upgrading other roles ahead of him.
Midfield should have been first
 

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A minor point but across the two gameweeks people are using to write off Martinez as being too short, Man City have kept back to back clean sheets having started the third shortest CB in the league in a back four. The key difference being what they're surrounded by, not the few CM difference in height between those two players.

Meanwhile Chelsea have two of the four shortest CBs in the league and had originally been looking to make it 3/4 by adding either the aforementioned Ake or Jules Kounde.

The point being that the system matters, a lot.
Koulibaly is 6"5, Silva is 6 ft, Ake 5"11. None of their starters are 5"9. city also have like 70% of the ball.........
 

joedirt87

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He needs to play at the base of our midfield with Lindelof and Varane behind.
I sure hope it's being considered by ETH for the Liverpool game. When he signed I had thought maybe he will be used as a 2 position player. As a CB in games that United should be able to control (which are none at the moment) and then in big games play him at DM where you need that extra midfield reinforcement.
 

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Martinez will be the signing that ETH lives or dies on the sword -- after spending nearly £ 50 million plus add-ons. It was completely counter-intuitive to get such a short CB for the PL -- who I highly doubt is even 5ft 9in. Closer to 5ft 7.

Cannavaro being 5ft 9in and being one of the best ever etc is bollocks simply because Cannavaro never played in the PL.

No club in the league has a CB that short, never mind any in the top 6. There is a reason.

It may be the ultimate sign of naivety or an over-blown ego on the part of ETH.
 

sglowrider

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Koulibaly is 6"5, Silva is 6 ft, Ake 5"11. None of their starters are 5"9. city also have like 70% of the ball.........
I wonder if the folks here who defend Martinez's lack of height are themselves of smaller stature too. Anyone who knows the PL knows it's just too risky to have someone who is 5ft 7, maybe 5ft 8 max as a CB.
 

klayton88

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Small does equal bad for a central defender, yes. People love to cite wild exceptions to that rule such as Cannavaro, but there's a reason why it's always the same few names brought up every time, and that's because being 5'9" is less than ideal for a top level central defender and there have been very few world class ones who've been that height. Thomas Frank literally said in his post-match interview that they targeted Martinez because of his height, after seeing Brighton do so successfully last week. He's been identified by opposition managers as the weak link in United's back line two games in. Every other team in the league is going to do exactly the same thing for the rest of the season, putting their biggest attacking players directly up against him and trying to bully him. That isn't to say he can't possibly come good and prove everybody wrong, but it's worrying currently that the club has signed a player for nearly £60m and Brentford's manager is gleefully telling the media that they were delighted to see his name on the team sheet.
Great post. Enjoyed that. It is very worrying and I agree he will be targeted all season.
 

Conor

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Martinez will be the signing that ETH lives or dies on the sword -- after spending nearly £ 50 million plus add-ons. It was completely counter-intuitive to get such a short CB for the PL -- who I highly doubt is even 5ft 9in. Closer to 5ft 7.

Cannavaro being 5ft 9in and being one of the best ever etc is bollocks simply because Cannavaro never played in the PL.

No club in the league has a CB that short, never mind any in the top 6. There is a reason.

It may be the ultimate sign of naivety or an over-blown ego on the part of ETH.
Mascherano is the same height as Martinez.
 

CarbonStoolBites

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Didn’t like Neville signaling him out the way he did, bringing up the good ol’d days when be was a youth player or the 90’s, and the the rest of the media leeches followed.
Just because you were a shit centre back Gary, doesn’t mean that anyone else who isn’t 6”5 won’t be able to cut it.

We’re not going to be playing Pulis’ Stoke every weekend or Brentford for that matter.
ETH made a mistake fielding a short side, it wasn’t just Martinez, Fred instead of McTominay as well.

Height for a CB can be an issue in the PL, but so is a lack of pace, poor reading of the game, poor positional sense, poor football skills, we’re not in the 1980’s Gary, teams are playing all sorts of football.

We have a 6”3 Maguire at the back who’s about as useless as it gets at everything else aside from his height, worked out great for us so far right?

You can’t field an entire team of midgets in any league, there needs to be a balance there, but we’re not building a Burnley here either.

I refuse to write this lad off, I like his character and I like his aggression, haven’t watched him playing for Ajax but I’m gonna give him a fair chance.
 

Stacks

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My question then is did ETH not do some due diligence on the PL?
I feel this was the job of our recruitment department of chief scout/DOF to say "no I don't think this is wise. There are taller CBs who are also good on the ball. We would advise one of these names etc etc" but our recruitment team just rely on the manager.
Mascherano is the same height as Martinez.
Never played CB for Pool according to transfermarkt. Look I'm not saying he cannot play there sometimes. I just feel he lacks any kind of physical ability which is a must in this league. He might be good in Italy for example.
 
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