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Jaap Stam speaks on how Lisandro Martínez and Harry Maguire can improve Manchester United defence

Former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has given his insight on how Lisandro Martínez and Harry Maguire can improve the team’s defence.

Martínez and Maguire appear to be Erik ten Hag’s preferred pairing at centre-back with the duo starting United’s two Premier League games this term.

However, they have struggled to adapt to each other’s game having let in six goals in their opening two matches

Stam, while speaking to Safe Betting Sites UK, has now spoken on how the duo can help the Red Devils turn things around at the back.

On Martínez, he said: “It’s not a strange one. I always said it from the start, when he went to United, I said ‘they’re probably going to be talking about his height’. It’s a common thing in the Premier League that teams are looking for centre-backs that are strong and big because of the physical part of the game.

Bringing him in, it’s a challenge for him. It’s going to be interesting how he is adapting. Already now people are criticising him, and the coach a little as well about bringing him in, because of his height.

“He’s struggling in the aerial battles. You don’t need to be very tall to be a good centre-back, even in the Premier League, if you’re clever enough, then you can handle a lot of situations.” 

The Argentine’s defensive partner Maguire has gotten a lot of stick for his performances in recent seasons but Stam feels the 29-year-old could certainly use some help from his teammates.

He added: “Harry can do better than what he’s been showing for the club. To be fair to him, it’s also important what the players around him are doing.

“Because this manager is asking things of him that maybe he’s not always used to. That takes a certain time to get the confidence in doing so and having that self-belief to perform better.

It’s important the players alongside him, but also in front of him, the midfield players, are helping him out, and giving him the right options.

Defensively sometimes he’s making decisions that are not the correct ones. But that’s also true for a lot of players around him.”

Stam spent three seasons at Old Trafford and won a league title in each of those seasons. His advice will massively benefit the defensive duo.