Lisandro Martinez relishing competition for places at Man Utd as Shaw continues to impress at centre-back
- Martinez not started since World Cup return
- Shaw has impressed at centre-back
- Argentine admits he is relishing competition
WHAT HAPPENED? Martinez has made just two substitute appearances for United since World Cup glory with Argentina in Qatar, totalling just over 16 minutes of club action. In his place has been the unorthodox selection of left-back Shaw, who has impressed in the three matches he has featured as centre-back under Erik ten Hag. Martinez pointed towards the positivity of having such competition for places, and reveals training has been fierce of late.
WHAT THEY SAID: "I like when there's competition for places, I think it's a positive," the Argentine told Sky Sports. "The vibe and the atmosphere in the dressing room is really positive and I'm proud we're on this good run. It shows we are on the right road and we are making progress.
"At the start of the season, we didn't have the best of couple of games, but we managed to turn things around and that makes you stronger. I think now, within the group, there's a different kind of energy and atmosphere. Training is even more lively than it's ever been. We can't drop our guard, but three wins and three clean sheets [in the Premier League] is something to build on."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: In Martinez's absence, United have been flying since the international break, winning all five of their matches across all competitions and taking themselves into the top four, two points off fifth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand. For his part, Martinez - having acclimatised to club football following his World Cup celebrations - is sure to feature more under Ten Hag as the month progresses.
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WHAT NEXT FOR MARTINEZ? United's busy schedule may provide the Argentine the perfect opportunity to start his first game since mid-November, when Ten Hag's side host League One's Charlton Athletic in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.