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Why Man Utd star should replace Spurs defender in Argentina starting XI

Manchester United fans were left bemused on Wednesday night as centre-back Lisandro Martinez was benched by Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni in favour of Tottenham Hotspur’s Cristian Romero.

Romero had a poor start to the World Cup campaign for La Albiceleste against Saudi Arabia. He was easily outpaced by Saleh Al-Shehri in the lead-up to Saudi’s first goal in the 2-1 loss.

There were no surprises that he was taken off and replaced by Martinez in the second half. The United star deservedly kept his place in the 2-0 win over Mexico, but was back on the bench yesterday.

Ole claimed that concerns over Martinez’s height was the reason behind Romero being reinstated into the line-up for the crucial game against Poland, but we simply don’t accept the decision.

Robert Lewandowski’s presence in the opposition ranks led to the change of personnel, but the 34-year-old is not the most towering of strikers in European football with his height of 185cm.

Martinez has already shown that he is no slouch in the air despite being 175cm. He has proved his critics wrong in the Premier League this term, winning 61% per cent duels compared to Romero’s 59.

He may not have the same aerial dominance as his compatriot, but is the better all-round defender. In our opinion, he would have definitely fared better than Romero in the 2-0 win over Poland.

The Spurs star failed to win any of his ground duels and lost possession 10 times. It was against a team which failed to muster a single shot on target and managed just 26% of the possession.

Argentina are now scheduled to face Australia in the round of 16 of the World Cup. The Socceroos will most likely play on the counter-attack, something which caused Romero’s downfall against Saudi.

His ground work has been circumspect at the World Cup. In our view, Scaloni should revert to Martinez for the knock-out phase. He has won 50% of his ground duels in Qatar compared to Romero’s 38.

Stats from