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Lisandro Martinez has won 83 per cent of aerial duels in the Premier League this season

Josh Lawless

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Lisandro Martinez has won 83 per cent of aerial duels in the Premier League this season

Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez has proved talk about his lack of a size is a myth by winning 83 per cent of his aerial duels in the Premier League.

The Argentina international, standing at just 5 ft 9, is the smallest centre-back in the English top flight after signing from Ajax in a £57 million deal.

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Much has been made about Martinez's height, with many pundits claiming teams would purposely target him aerially.

Jamie Carragher, quite brutally, said there was no way Martinez could play centrally in a back four.

"Now, we should never judge managers or players too early, but I'm convinced this can't work because the size of him playing in a back four," he said on Sky Sports.

But Martinez, 24, has stood up the test. He has been named Man of the Match in back-to-back wins for United after they put the Brighton and Brentford horror shows behind them with victories over Liverpool and Southampton.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

And the idea that he is too small to play at the heart of the United backline is being swiftly dismissed, as Martinez has a better aerial duel percentage than Kalidou Koulibaly, William Saliba and Ruben Dias.

In the 1-0 win over Southampton, Martinez won all five of his duels in the air against the likes of Che Adams and Adam Armstrong.

While he may not be the tallest, he makes up for that with aggression, a strong leap and a wonderful anticipation.

He did get beaten for one of the goals at Brentford and was hooked at half-time but based off the last two outings, he looks to be forming a fine partnership with Raphael Varane.

It's come at the expense of club captain Harry Maguire, who has been an unused substitute in the last two games.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

But Martinez is quickly becoming a firm fans' favourite thanks to his imperious defensive displays and passionate celebration at the end of the Liverpool win.

Featured Image Credit: Image: Alamy & BT Sport

Topics: Lisandro Martinez, Ajax, Manchester United, Premier League

Josh Lawless
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