Jaap Stam birthday: What advice did the former Manchester United defender offer to Lisandro Martinez?

Despite not being one of the tallest players on the pitch, Lisandro Martinez has maintained a high level of consistency, which has been appreciated by Jaap Stam.

File Photo - Lisandro Martinez in action for Manchester United. Credits: Twitter/@ManUtd
By Karthik Raman | Jul 17, 2023 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Manchester United enjoyed a positive 2022-23 campaign across all competitions, which also yielded them a trophy. Going into last season, there were some big changes happening at Old Trafford. Starting with the arrival of a new manager in Erik ten Hag, the club also signed some exciting new players, while quite a few of them also departed Old Trafford. One such signing who caught the eye last season was Lisandro Martinez.

The Argentine centre-back quickly became a fan favourite with his aggressive style of defending. Despite not being one of the tallest players on the pitch, Lisandro Martinez has maintained a high level of consistency, which has been appreciated by former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam. “I think Martinez has done very well. In the beginning of last season, I think he needed to adjust to the league and to the opposition and how they can play,” Stam, who turned 51 years of age, said.

He’s using his body well: Jaap Stam

“But, since then, he’s been very good, very composed on the ball. He’s finding the right free man in midfield as well. His passing is very, very good. Defensively, he may not be the biggest, and there’s been a lot of discussion about that, but he’s very clever in his one-v-ones and his duels. So he’s using his body well. His positioning is good so he’s been very impressive and, hopefully, after his injury, he’s coming back now. Hopefully, he can keep that up this season as well. But, of course, he needs to have players around him to help him out at times, as well. That’s important, I think, for every player in every position.”

Stam also spoke about the need to still be aggressive in modern game but want the players to be cautious due to the involvement of VAR. “You know you need to be aware of the VAR, at the moment, so you can’t do anything. Well, you can’t do everything any more, like back in the day! You can at times, give an extra knock or a little bit of a tug on somebody. But now, with the VAR, there are a lot of cameras and they see everything! So you still need to be able to be aggressive but you need to know how to do it, how to use your aggression,” he elaborated.

He added: “I still think that, in the Premier League, if you have the right aggression, and your timing is right in the challenge, then you still have the advantage as a defender. But, if you don’t have the aggression, if you can’t be close or be tight to your opposition, then you make it easy for the [attacking] players to open up and to find that decisive pass or to score a goal. So you still need to be aggressive. And it’s how we use the term ‘aggressive’ and being aggressive at times as well. It’s not being aggressive in making lots of fouls. It’s about being aggressive in approaching your opponent and being tight and close, not giving him the time to open up and to find his fellow team-mate.”

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