Graeme Souness has said Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez “will be found out” and believes Harry Maguire “has been treated unfairly”.
Argentina centre-back Martinez moved to Old Trafford in a £57m deal this summer, reuniting with Erik ten Hag who managed him at Ajax for the past three seasons.
The 24-year-old was instantly relied upon by Ten Hag, starting United’s first four games, playing full 90 minutes in three of those games.
Martinez, who has seven international caps, is 5ft 9in, and some have questioned his ability to compete in the air against top forwards.
Gabby Agbonlahor suggested the defender “will struggle” against the Premier League’s biggest strikers, and fellow talkSPORT host Souness voiced the same concerns and also questioned his skills.
“He’s not particularly special in anything,” said the Liverpool and Rangers legend.
“I would say he’s aggressive, and the other thing I don’t like about him, he goes down easily, that’s not a good sign for a defender, the smart ones stay up and they read it, they’re there, they’re anticipating, if you’re rushing all the time, you’re not reading it.
“I go back to his size, he will be discovered in the Premier League, I throw this question to the listeners, I’ve been in the game a long time, I can’t tell you someone of this size who has been a success in our game, I think in the end you are discovered.
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“He’s challenged vertically, I was racking my brains to find someone who’s played in the Premier League or Premier League of that size and been successful, I think he’ll be hard tested and discovered in the future. .
“Imagine what [Erling] Haaland will make him, or [Darwin] Nunez or [Aleksandar] Mitrovic, my dear, it will be a mismatch.
In Martinez’s first two United Red games he teamed up with captain Harry Maguire, and the side lost 2-1 to Brighton and 4-0 to Brentford, with the second game seeing him substituted at half-time .
However, in the next two matches Maguire was dropped to the bench, with Martinez teaming up with Raphael Varane to register wins over Liverpool and Southampton.
Souness, however, believes the England international has been given a rough ride, particularly as his £80million move from Leicester in 2019 is a world record for the job.
“I think he was treated unfairly,” Souness said. “I like Maguire and I think there’s more to come from him.
“I think there was a momentum against him that was quite unfair.
“If you’re Man United there’s a premium to be paid, Man United always pays a premium, it’s part of being in the Premier League and Man United, he was the most expensive defender in the world for him to is targeted straight away, so his first mistake ‘the most expensive defender in the world shouldn’t make that mistake’.
“I come back to it, maybe his partner is not the best, today it’s two central defenders and the goalkeeper, this trio over there is essential.
“If you’re defending they need to understand, I would say maybe his partner hasn’t been the best, but I think Maguire is better than people think he is.”
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‘He’s not particularly special in anything’ – Souness delivers Lisandro Martinez verdict