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Gary Neville tells Erik ten Hag the only role Lisandro Martinez can play in Manchester United defence

After being bullied in Manchester United’s Saturday loss to Brentford, Gary Neville is not sure Lisandro Martinez can play in the middle of a defensive four.Information Guide Nigeria

Ben Mee easily outjumped the Argentine, a £56.7 million transfer from Ajax, on a set-piece, and the player was taken off with United trailing by four goals at halftime. Ivan Toney tormented the player at times.

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Before Martinez came to the Premier League, his short stature (5’9″) was noted as a potential problem, and Brentford manager Thomas Frank later acknowledged that it was something they intentionally targeted.

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Martinez will continue to be targeted, and the only remedy, according to United veteran Neville, who was also on the short side for a center-back before switching to right-back, is to move Martinez to the right-back position.

Asked if there was any role in the defence that Martinez would be capable of playing, Neville told Sky Sports: ‘Maybe on the left in a back three – that could potentially work.

‘Maybe playing in midfield, because we know he can do that. I think he’s got tenacity and, to be fair, I wouldn’t judge him at all at this moment in time.

‘But to say he could play in a back four away at Brentford against Toney and [Bryan] Mbeumo – he physically can’t compete with them.

‘I couldn’t when I was playing as a centre-back when I was younger, and I thought I was a decent centre-back who knew my position and knew the game. But I couldn’t do it because Gary Pallister had to keep coming over to swap with me.

‘When I saw him [Martinez] swapping with [Harry] Maguire in the first half at the long throws, it reminded me of Pally who used to swap with me.

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‘If you’re having to swap positions at centre-back to compensate for the other one it’s just not great and that’s what continually happened. They did target him in that first half.’

Fellow pundit Jamie Redknapp was also scathing afterwards, saying of Martinez: ‘If you’re going to sign a 5ft 9in centre-back, he’s not going to be able to compete in this league.

‘He might be okay in the Dutch league where it’s not quite as physical but when you play here you know week in, week out teams are looking to expose any weakness like Brentford did today, like Brighton did last week, and like Liverpool will do.

‘Every team will play on him because he’s 5ft 9in and not tall enough. He’s actually a small midfielder let alone a small centre-back.

‘He’ll need time. Maybe he can play in midfield. Technically he’s a good player, he’s played in the Dutch league and he knows the game. But as a centre-back in this league, I think it’s really difficult and you get exposed very quickly.’JAMB Result

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing.

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