The former Racing Club forward has failed to make an impact in the tournament so far, with a disallowed goal in the Albiceleste’s shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia in the opening game followed up by an underwhelming display during the 2-0 victory over Mexico.
In an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport, former Argentina captain Zanetti was adamant that Martinez would come good though, with a decisive match against Poland set to determine Group C.
“It could still be his World Cup. He will be unleashed soon, it’s guaranteed, perhaps against Poland,” Zanetti declared.
“Lauti needn’t worry, the two matches weren’t easy for a striker to compete in. But I don’t see any problems.”
Martinez looking to bounce back
Martinez was replaced by Julian Alvarez on the hour mark against Mexico and the Manchester City striker made an impact, helping to force Argentina forward and secure victory.
With Lionel Messi leading the line and Alvarez showing his enormous talent from the bench, the pressure is on for Martinez to make his mark against Poland and ensure he remains in the starting line-up for the knockout rounds, should Argentina make it that far.
The 25-year-old has an excellent record for his national team, with 21 goals from 42 caps, but is still seeking his first in a World Cup.
Zanetti’s World Cup anguish
Despite being one of the most decorated players in Serie A’s history, former full-back Zanetti had a complicated relationship with the Argentina national team.
Once the South American nation’s most capped player, Zanetti had an international career that spanned 17 years and yielded 145 appearances, but only made the World Cup twice.
Zanetti featured in 1998 and the dismal 2002 campaign, but was controversially left out in 2006 for current Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, whilst Diego Maradona opted to leave him behind in 2010.