Manchester United winger Amad Diallo has hailed Lisandro Martinez for his role in his recovery from injury throughout a challenging season. Amad is the latest to heap praise on Martinez’s leadership qualities as he continues to build up his fitness and fight for his place in Erik ten Hag’s plans.
The 21-year-old winger was primed for a breakout season after a successful loan spell at Sunderland last term, registering 14 goals and four assists in 42 appearances.
However, a serious knee injury on United’s pre-season tour of the United States ruled Amad out of action for five months before he returned to first-team training in December.
He earned his first minutes with a 36-minute cameo in United’s 2-1 defeat at Nottingham Forest on December 30 and has been an unused substitute in three games since.
In a recent interview, as he looks to make his mark before the end of the season, Amad pinpointed Martinez as a team-mate who helped him recovery from such an ill-timed injury.
“Lisandro is a fantastic person. He’s more than a player to me. He’s a leader. When I got injured, he was injured too, so he really helped me,” Amad explained.
“He spoke to me a lot and told me not to worry about the injury, and the main thing was to stay positive and work hard to get back into the team, so I did what he and everyone else said.”
Martinez has endured injury woes of his own this term after suffering a reoccurrence of the foot problem that saw him miss the final stages of his maiden campaign in England.
The 26-year-old World Cup winner returned to action in January but could only play four times before suffering a new issue to the medial collateral ligament in his knee.
He is expected to miss another six to eight weeks after showcasing the quality that United had been missing in his absence during his brief spell back on the pitch.
Ten Hag splashed £57million to bring Martinez with him from Ajax in 2022, and the Argentina international helped achieve a positive first year in the job at Old Trafford.
After Martinez’s latest setback, the Dutchman said: “You see his contribution to the team when he is playing, so he brings, apart from his technical skills, also a mentality in the team.
“It is a big setback for Licha. He is very disappointed, but he is a fighter, and he will be back, and he will be back stronger. We think he will still be back by the end of the season.”
Martinez will undoubtedly be among the top candidates when United need to replace Bruno Fernandes as club captain. Amad’s revelation is further proof as to why.