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Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has backed current United defender Lisandro Martinez to succeed in England.

Just like Martinez, Stam switched the Eredivisie for the Premier League back in the summer of 1998 in a deal worth £10.6 million – the most expensive defender in history at that time.

There has been a lot of talk since Martinez arrived at Old Trafford regarding the centre-back’s height.

Jaap Stam and Erik Ten Hag

Martinez stands at just 5 ft 9 inches however, Stam doesn’t believe this is an issue.

Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Stam said: “That was an easy one, the day when he signed for Manchester United, I had already said they will talk about his height.

“Over here [England], everyone thinks as a centre-back, you need to be big and tall, otherwise you won’t make it.”

Since Martinez’s arrival in the summer, the Argentine has been a standout for Erik ten Hag’s side, winning the club’s player of the month for August.

Martinez was part of United’s opening two defeats of the season against Brighton & Hove Albion and Brentford, being substituted at half-time in the latter fixture, but Stam believes these things happen.

He said: “Of course, sometimes he’s going to get surprised but that’s what also happens with big players – they make mistakes as well.

“Martinez shows his quality on the ball, he shows his quality when defending and his communication around him is good.”

After United’s back-to-back defeats, Martinez has been partnered with Frenchman Raphael Varane consistently, leading to the Reds currently under a win streak of four however, their next fixture on Sunday will certainly pose a much different threat to what they have already faced, as they come up against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.


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