Virgil van Dijk Backs United’s Lisandro Martinez, Brands Criticism as Absolute Rubbish

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Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool Centre-back, responded to complaints about Lisandro Martinez’s height by praising his early contributions at Manchester United.

Virgil van Dijk Backs United's Lisandro Martinez Brands Criticism Absolute Rubbish

The Argentina international joined Old Trafford from Ajax this summer in a move worth up to £57million and has been an almost ever-present under boss Erik ten Hag.

Martinez, meanwhile, has received mixed responses from United fans so far after receiving harsh criticism for his lack of height following back-to-back losses to open the season.

‘People talking about Lisandro Martínez and his height, are talking absolute rubbish,’ Virgil van Dijk told Sky Bet’s The Overlap. 

“It can help as a centre-back if you’re a bit taller, but what he’s done since coming to the Premier League, has been good.”

“‘He’s a good signing for Manchester United, he’s good on the ball, he’s very passionate, so I can only speak positively about him.”

“I have respect for what he’s achieved so far, and I hope he does well at United, but that he doesn’t get successful there with winning trophies!”

“In England, everyone loves criticising players about everything, but that’s fine because you can’t change it.”

“Lisandro has shown many good performances already, and he shouldn’t think about the outside noise around him.”

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The Dutchman defended Martinez shortly after Graeme Souness said he is still not convinced and believes the defender will eventually be caught off guard.

Martinez clearly doesn’t rate well with Souness, who stated to TalkSport: “That worry for me is still there. If you watch at set-pieces, he still uses a blocker or they use him on the near post. He’s not got the physique to take on the big guys and man-mark them.”

“I think he’s brought a bit of aggression to them. He definitely has. My experience in the dressing rooms are, if you’ve got a couple people that are willing to stand up and fight, you’ve got several people coming in behind you.”

“There’s a lot to like about him. I like his aggression. The first thing he did, when he played Liverpool, he’s gone right through Mo Salah early on. For the rest of the game, Salah was looking for him. I like that.”

“I just feel, when you’re that size, you’ll get caught. You’ll get pinned in the box. I don’t think he’s terribly quick. I don’t think he’s terribly good on the ball. But he’s got something about him that makes other people play [well].”

Virgil van Dijk Backs United's Lisandro Martinez Brands Criticism Absolute Rubbish

“5ft 9in and he’s playing against guys that are 6ft 2in. I can’t tell you a centre-back, in my time in the English game, that’s been super successful being that size.”

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Lisandro Martinez

Argentine professional footballer Lisandro Martnez (born 18 January 1998) primarily plays center back for Premier League club Manchester United and the Argentina national team.

Prior to beginning his career at Defensa y Justicia in 2017, Martinez spent time at Newell’s Old Boys.

In 2019, he signed with Ajax, where he played 120 times over three seasons, winning two Eredivisie championships and one KNVB Cup. In the 2021–22 season, he was named Ajax Player of the Year.

Martnez made his senior international debut in March 2019 after representing Argentina at the under-20 and under-23 levels.

He competed for Argentina on teams that captured the 2021 Copa América and the 2022 Finalissima.

Who is Graeme Souness?

Scottish former professional football player and manager Graeme James Souness (/suns/; born May 6, 1953) is currently a pundit on Sky Sports.

Souness, a midfielder, led the prosperous Liverpool squad of the early 1980s, served as player-manager of Rangers in the latter part of the decade, and captained Scotland at the international level.

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He also had stints with Sampdoria, Middlesbrough, and Tottenham Hotspur.

Before taking the helm at Liverpool, Souness began his management career by joining Rangers, where he helped them win four league cups and three Scottish championships.

Later, he managed Newcastle United, Galatasaray, Southampton, Torino, Benfica, and Blackburn Rovers.

Virgil van Dijk on Olivier Giroud

Van Dijk has admitted that Kevin De Bruyne, a rival of Manchester City, is his ideal teammate and that Olivier Giroud is the striker he dislikes playing against the most.

In Liverpool’s games against Arsenal and Chelsea, as well as for Holland against France, Van Dijk faced Giroud.

Virgil van Dijk Backs United's Lisandro Martinez Brands Criticism Absolute Rubbish

On the most recent episode of Sky Bet’s The Overlap, he was still talking to Gary Neville and said: “Giroud is the striker I’ve struggled against the most.”

“I always felt like I had him but somehow he always managed to score against us. Whether it was for Arsenal, Chelsea or France, he always scored.”

“The year we won the Premier League in the 2019-20 season, we beat Chelsea 5-3. We were winning 3-0 and he scored a scrappy goal, and I thought to myself, “we’re winning comfortably, but he’s still scoring against me.”

The striker did score France’s winning goal against Holland in a 2019 UEFA Nations League match, but that is the only club goal Giroud has scored against Liverpool since Van Dijk came at Anfield in 2018.

Van Dijk said it would be much nicer to have City star De Bruyne on his own side after numerous confrontations with the Belgian.

After they met in Scotland, Van Dijk, 31, said Andrew Robertson was the Liverpool teammate he had always wanted to play with.

Liverpool defeated Napoli on Tuesday night to finish their Champions League group, and they will go to Tottenham this Sunday in the Premier League.

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