The warrior defender saved the surprise for the end. Lisandro MartinezThe word “fight” was interspersed in ‘s speech, which came as no surprise. There are graceful, graceful defenders who come in undetected as if they could complete the game without a blemish on them, and there are impassive, solid defenders. The ones that are designed to push anything away but sometimes essentially uninteresting. And also, the brand of pure-blood devotion makes it a Manchester United cult hero.

But it turns out, not a serial criminal. Her albicelle teammate Cristian Romero He may fit better with the Argentine centre-back image, recklessly jumping where others fear to step, almost accepting red cards as an occupational hazard. Martinez may not seem less belligerent, but he has managed to combine a willingness to fight with an awareness of what he can and cannot escape from.

There is only one expulsion in his career; as much as the calmer Marcus Rashford. “Two yellow cards. Two mistakes,” Martinez said. He may have mastered the art of combining aggression and control. “It’s really hard,” he said with a smile. “Sometimes I want to kill, but you have to control too. I can do that, or I’ll be penalized every game. You have to be smart.”

He needs cunning for other reasons. It starts with an obstacle for a player in his position. He reached heights by winning the World Cup, but from a low base. Famously, he is 5 feet 9 inches. The Premier League’s shortest defender this season has become one of the best, albeit after a false start.

Martinez is a fan favorite at Old Trafford

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He was suspected in England; but not just in the UK. “It was the same in Argentina in the beginning,” he added. “But that’s normal because playing as a defender my size in football is not normal. It’s also not easy. I try to do my best, but you have to work hard. You have to be very smart on the pitch, because you have to be sharp in any situation, because if you’re smart you can win duels.”

Doubts were more evident after his first two games for United; 2-1 defeat to Brighton and a 4-0 loss at BrentfordWhen Plum skin Witch In the first half and after all four goals came in, an Ajax ally drove them away.

United’s £56m spend seemed misdirected, Ten Hag’s decision was flawed. Still, times like this require a fighter. “It was definitely tough because that’s not the start we wanted,” thought Martinez. “It was difficult, the result, the way we lost, our attitude was really bad. We directly changed the mindset. Okay, we’re down on the ground, but now it looked like we had to prove it to fight again. Sometimes it’s good to see bad things and then you have to change on the field. We looked at the badge. We say, ‘Guys, this is not possible, we have to change it’.”

Martinez proved his leadership by retaining his captaincy in the new term. Harry Maguire outside the team by establishing a good partnership with Raphael VaraneHe is endearing himself to United fans, who choired “Argentina” in his honor, as they did for Gabriel Heinze and Carlos Tevez. Martinez had a chance to join Arsenal in the summer and picking United could have cost him a Premier League champion medal. However, he was able to capture the first silver team of the season last season. Carabao Cup Sunday. Ten Hag’s management style should equip United well. “He prepares for every game as if it were a final,” Martinez explained. “I’ve been with Erik for three years at Ajax, I know him very well and everybody knows how great Manchester United are around the world, so that was the key to coming here to Manchester United.”

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Three years at Ajax meant Martinez got used to the silverware. He added the Copa America and the World Cup with his country. Now, United have a typical way to end their six-year wait. If you want to win trophies, you have to do the right things.” “And if you have to fight or be tough with someone, you have to do it.”

He believes that the fight is in the blood, in the air in his homeland. “I think we have a culture that comes from Argentina, Argentine players are always like that, we are passionate,” he said. “Football is like everything to us, so we always give our all. I remember when I was a kid, when I was really young, around four or five, I would start fighting and cry when I lost, so it’s something that is in our blood, in our hearts. this is our culture.”

And it can be a winning culture, as the World Cup has shown.