Manchester United sat down for a special interview with fan favourite, Lisandro Martínez, to discuss how he went from being a bricklayer to a professional footballer and world champion.
The centre-back has become a cult hero among the United faithful with his immense work rate and battling spirit, having shored up the defence and cemented himself as a real leader in the dressing room after just a few months.
If there’s one thing we love here in Manchester it’s a grafter and Martínez is very much the epitome of that in Erik ten Hag‘s squad and, as it turns out, he’s done more than his fair share of proper labour on his way to becoming a professional footballer.
Speaking to club media, the 25-year-old was asked about his humble beginnings growing up in Gualeguay and how he came to end up working as a bricklayer from a relatively young age.
Going along to construction sites with his dad, the Argentinian detailed how he had a couple of opportunities to move away and play when he was very young, but the connection with his family and wanting to help them during tough times meant that it did feel right for him to leave.
Martínez says that after being confronted by his parents about not going to play football and “make something of [himself]”, he was going to work and treat it with the same dedication he showed when it came to kicking a ball about.
As a result, he then went off to work as a bricklayer at “about 13. Very young”, arriving at seven every morning to help his dad.
After oversleeping one day and turning up late, Martínez says he still remembers his dad’s face “like it was yesterday”, at which point he told a young Licha: “Don’t you realise this isn’t for you? You need to have a career in football — football is your thing”. The rest, as they say, is history.
So, yes: once upon a time — long before he was playing week in, week out for Man United and lifting the World Cup with his national team — Lisandro Martínez used to be a bricklayer and probably the youngest one we ever heard of. He’s come so far in the 12 years since.
Like most other young footy-obsessed kids, Licha described never being far from a ball, saying that if he and his friends didn’t have one they’d make their own “out of paper or cloth” and would even make their own football pitches by “cut[ting] down bits of trees” and make goalposts out of the branches.
That jumpers-for-goalposts mentality really is universal, isn’t it?
He might be playing in front of proper nets and lacing up a different set of work boots these days, but it’s clear ‘The Butcher’ still has that same level of graft.
Featured Image — Manchester United/Lisandro Martínez (via Instagram)
Man United striker Rasmus Højlund set to miss Manchester derby as muscle injury rules him out for ‘two to three weeks’
Man United have suffered a pretty big short-term blow as their in-form forward Rasmus Højlund has been diagnosed with a muscle injury which is set to see him out for “two to three weeks”, meaning he will likely miss the upcoming Manchester derby.
The Danish striker has been running red-hot of late, scoring seven in his last six league games for Man United and now sitting as the club’s top marksman with 13 goals and two assists across all competitions, but just as Erik ten Hag’s side look to have got going, they will now be without him for a spell.
Issuing an update on Friday, 23 February, United confirmed that a muscle injury is “expected to rule him out for two to three weeks”, meaning he will miss this weekend’s fixture against Fulham, the FA Cup fifth round against Nottingham Forest and most likely the Manchester derby.
The Red Devils are currently unbeaten in 2024 and on a run of six wins out of their last seven, with Højlund making the difference in many of them.
ℹ️ Rasmus Hojlund has suffered a muscle injury which is expected to rule him out for two to three weeks.
He could potentially be back for the home game against Everton on 9 March.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s game at Old Trafford, ten Hag went on to explain: “It is a small injury. That is what happens and the risk [when you are] playing at high intensity and training.”
The Dutchman reiterated, “As I say it is not a big injury, but he has to wait for one, two, three weeks”, though Reds will nevertheless be gutted to see the 21-year-old sidelined after having now started finding the net and putting together such an impressive run of performances.
While he emphasised that it is not a “big injury”, the timing couldn’t be more frustrating for a team that looks to be finally gathering some momentum, not only in and around the European places already but right on the trail of those chasing down the Champions League spots.
Højlund’s injury only adds to the club’s ever-growing list of players on the physio’s bench, including Tyrell Malacia, Mason Mount, Lisandro Martinez and another huge setback in Luke Shaw’s long-term hamstring problems.
In contrast, Manchester City have been lofted by comebacks from both Erling Haaland, who is getting back on the scoresheet once again, and midfielder maestro Kevin De Bruyne as they look to step up the pressure on league leaders Liverpool.
The treble-winners were always going to be putting in a very strong title defence but the return of KDB has reminded football fans just exactly how good he is. The Belgian was left on the bench against Brentford due to “minor niggles” but you can fully expect him to be raring to go come derby day.
Stockport County create a new community mural with young street artists in Edgeley
Stockport County is creating a brand new mural with a group of young street artists from the local area and a little help from one of their squad members.
This past February half-term, the Greater Manchester football club enlisted the help of some schoolkids and aspiring artists, along with local creatives from around the area to create a brand new piece of artwork right in the heart of the community.
With some paint, plenty of spray cans and the expertise of Manc muralist and designer, Oskar With A K, and poet Ruth Awolola, a dozen local secondary school pupils helped write, design and paint the mural — taking inspiration directly from the club and the thriving fan culture in Stockport.
There is no chant more iconic and important to the Hatters than their famous ‘The Scarf My Father Worse’ song and that’s exactly what the local artists have decided to immortalise.
🖼️ A new County-themed mural is currently being created in Edgeley by a talented group of young street artists – with a little help from Ethan Pye!
The new Stockport County mural is being completed as we speak.
The painting process began on Friday, 16 February and, as you can see, they even managed to rope in County defender Ethan Pye came along to lend a hand with the mural, armed with a can of spray paint to help the young people bring their ideas to life.
Being developed by the Stockport County Community Trust in collaboration with North West organisations, GRIT Studios and The Writing Squad, ‘The Scarf My Father Wore’ project has received £14,800 from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
Popping in a prime location on the corner of Castle Street and Mercian Way — just metres away from the Edgeley Park stadium and right at the beginning of the local village high street — this vibrant work of art will be passed by thousands of commuters and pedestrians every day.
Being brought to life in brilliant blue and white in line with the club’s colour scheme and proudly printing the title of the famous chant on the wall along with stencils of the County crest, footballs and many other details, it sits pride of place in the Stockport suburb.
Ethan offering his services off the pitch too.You can’t miss it.Credit: Supplied
Much like the historic chant and the symbolic scarf itself, this brilliant piece of street art will be passed down and enjoyed by generations to come, as well as make sure the club continues to play a key role in local culture.
County’s Community Trust CEO Alison Warwood said: “This project shows how art and writing by young people can make a real difference to the local community, and I can’t wait to see the end result.”
John Macaulay from GRIT Studios added: “We’re thrilled to be involved in such a collaborative and community-spirited initiative. Our young artists will be helping to create a lasting landmark that will become a focal point in Edgeley for years to come.”
With the Hatters currently top of the League Two table and looking at yet another promotion season, there feels like no better time for fans to wear the club on their sleeve, their scarves around their necks and now up on the wall too.