Man Utd star Lisandro Martinez reacts to Roy Keane comments

Man Utd defender Varane ready for tough challenge against Barcelona

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Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez has thanked Roy Keane for his kind words after being praised by the Irishman following his strong start to life in the Premier League. Martinez has been one of United’s standout players since joining the club from Ajax over the summer and will be expected to play a big part in this weekend’s Carabao Cup final after establishing himself as a vital cog in the machine at Old Trafford.

The Argentina defender was particularly impressive against Nottingham Forest in the first leg of United’s semi-final in December as the Red Devils cruised to a 3-0 victory in front of their own fans before securing another win by the same scoreline in the second leg at the City Ground. Martinez’s performance earned high praise from United legend Keane at the time, with the 51-year-old hailing his character and tenacity in defence to help his team-mates earn a welcome clean sheet.

“He’s got pride in his defending which is great to see,” said Keane. “A lot of the modern defenders now, it’s about what they do in possession. He wants to defend, he’s got great pride in it. He looks the right character, the kind of lad you want to be in the trenches with.”

Martinez has since responded to Keane’s comments as part of a lengthy interview for the Carabao Cup final matchday programme, in which he said: “It’s really nice to hear that from a legend like Roy Keane. The balance is important. Like I always say, you can learn every day about everything.”

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The former Ajax man has featured in all but two of United’s games in the Premier League since the beginning of the campaign and looks set to go down as their best new signing from last summer’s transfer window if he manages to keep up his good form until the end of the season. He was recently credited with saving United’s season by team-mate Bruno Fernandes, who singled out Martinez’s full-blooded early tackle against Liverpool as the moment things began to change for the Red Devils.

“I think the turnaround of our season is the Liverpool game,” Fernandes told Sky Sports. “The atmosphere was buzzing. I think the first tackle of Licha makes the fans go straight up and you could feel straight away that everyone understood it has to be our moment.

“That it has to be our turnaround, to be the game that we win and make things change. And I think from that game on we did a pretty good run until City, obviously we had that bad result, but after that it was unbelievable until Arsenal.”

Martinez will have the chance to help United win their first trophy since 2017 by beating Newcastle in this weekend’s Carabao Cup final and will likely be given the nod by Erik ten Hag to start at the back for the Red Devils on the hallowed Wembley turf. However, only time will tell whether United manage to get the job done or if they will be pipped to the prize by the Magpies, who are looking to end a 54-year wait for major honours since winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, now the Europa League, in 1969.

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