Martinez reports back to Carrington
Lisandro Martinez returned to Manchester United training at Carrington on Wednesday, 10 days after lifting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with Argentina.
Martinez appeared at United's training ground the day after our 3-0 Premier League victory against Nottingham Forest, as his team-mates conducted a recovery session.
He was allowed some time off after the end of the tournament, which the South Americans won following a dramatic penalty shootout victory over France on 18 December.
Licha appeared four times for Lionel Scaloni’s side in the Middle East, including during knockout-stage victories against Australia, the Netherlands and Croatia.
He was an unused substitute in the final but enjoyed the post-match celebrations, both at the Lusail Stadium and back in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires, where the team paraded the famous trophy in front of thousands of supporters.
Both he and Raphael Varane – who played 113 minutes for France in the final – missed last week’s 2-0 Carabao Cup victory over Burnley, although Varane became the first involved in Lusail to return to club action, as he was named in the starting XI for the Forest encounter.
The Frenchman’s willingness to play so soon after the low of a World Cup final defeat impressed manager Erik ten Hag, who has been forced to deploy Casemiro and then Luke Shaw at centre-back in our two post-World Cup outings, as an outbreak of illness has hit the squad.
Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof are among those to have been affected and, although Maguire did manage a late cameo against Steve Cooper’s side, Martinez’s reintroduction will provide Ten Hag with a welcome boost ahead of a busy sequence of games across three competitions.
It remains to be seen whether our no.6 will be involved in the New Year’s Eve trip to Wolves, as the Reds look to record five consecutive victories for the first time since April 2021.
Ten Hag will conduct a pre-match interview with United club media on Friday afternoon ahead of the match at Molineux, which you'll be able to watch across our official platforms in the build-up to our final game of 2022.
Another Premier League contest swiftly follows on 3 January, as Bournemouth visit Old Trafford to see in the new year, just 72 hours before the Friday evening Emirates FA Cup clash with Everton, again at home.
League One side Charlton Athletic are the third of four travellers to M16 at the beginning of 2023, with the Carabao Cup quarter-final clash now set for Tuesday 10 January.
There’s then the small matter of the second Manchester derby of the season on Saturday 14 January, as Pep Guardiola brings his City side across town for a lunchtime kick-off.
Martinez’s return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Reds then, as we look to end 2022 in a positive manner and carry our recent momentum through to January and beyond.