Patrice Evra rates Man Utd star Lisandro Martinez, aims dig at Arsenal hero | Football

Patrice Evra revealed his admiration for the new Man Utd star (Picture: Getty)

Patrice Evra has explained why he ‘loves’ new Manchester United defender Lisandro Martinez and taken a swipe at former Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker.

Martinez, who is currently with Argentina’s World Cup squad in Qatar, has enjoyed an impressive start to his United career following a £57m move from Ajax last summer.

A number of pundits questioned how Martinez would fare in the Premier League given his diminutive stature, but the Argentine is proving his critics wrong, establishing an encouraging centre-back partnership with Raphael Varane.

Evra has hailed Martinez as one of United’s best signings in recent years and says he was ‘laughing’ when pundits suggested he would struggle due to his physique.

The Manchester United legend believes Martinez’s ability to make progressive passes is one of his biggest attributes and named ex-Arsenal defender Mertesacker as someone who would predominately only take the easy option when playing out from the back.

Mertesacker made more than 200 appearances for the Gunners during his seven-year spell at the Emirates, helping Arsenal win three FA Cups.

‘This is one of the best signings we’ve had for years at Manchester United,’ Evra said on the Vibe with Five YouTube channel.

Lisandro Martinez has made a superb start to his Man Utd career (Picture: Getty)

‘It’s because of his fighting spirit. That’s what United fans want to see – those players have to bleed for the shirt.

‘People were talking about his height and I was laughing. Some people said I was too small when I arrived in the Premier League as well. When you play with that heart and passion, size doesn’t matter.

‘When he gets the ball, he is so clean and composed. Mexico were pressing everywhere [in the World Cup Group C game] but every time he got the ball he was calm and playing forward. That’s what I love.

Per Mertesacker won three FA Cups at Arsenal (Picture: Getty)

‘He doesn’t play those one-metre balls to the next player. This is easy. When I see those stats – I remember Mertesacker at Arsenal, the stats said he never lost the ball – but he was passing it one metre, I can do that every day.

‘But Martinez puts the ball through the lines like Michael Carrick. That’s what he does and I love that. What a player, what a player.’

Evra’s former Manchester United team-mate Rio Ferdinand also heaped praise on Martinez, insisting the other elements of his game make up for his lack of height.

‘All the other aspects of his game are great,’ Ferdinand said.

‘I remember speaking to Edwin van der Sar and other people at Ajax about him and they all said he was aggressive and tenacious but also great on the ball and can pass. Top defenders now need to have both sides of the game.’

Martinez’s Argentina suffered a shock defeat to Saudi Arabia in their opening World Cup game but got their campaign back on track with a 2-0 win over Mexico.

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