Manchester United star Aaron Wan-Bissaka has once again been initially overlooked for selection for England in the upcoming international break.
The talented defender doesn’t seem to be appreciated much by Gareth Southgate despite fans at club level absolutely adoring him.
Wan-Bissaka’s qualities are well known- he’s ridiculously talented in one v one situations, always seems to get a tackle in and hardly appears to get beaten.
The young Englishman’s weaknesses are also well known- he doesn’t seem to have an attacking bone in his body, doesn’t beat his man enough and isn’t the greatest of passers.
However, it’s easy to point the finger without exploring why Wan-Bissaka is the way he is and if his weaknesses are under the limelight for reasons beyond his control or if he is genuinely poor moving forward.
There’s definitely a case to be made that is the former and that the former Crystal Palace man’s ugly side is often being exposed and he isn’t being protected by it by the current system.
That’s not to say Wan-Bissaka has no weaknesses but rather it’s made to look worse no thanks to his teammates and manager.
In a 4-2-3-1, wide pairings are crucial and in order for there to be any success, particularly moving forward, both players have to work in tandem with one another.
Unfortunately for Wan-Bissaka, due to the lack of natural right-wingers at the club, whoever plays ahead of him either drifts to the attacking-midfield position or even shifts all the way to the left.
This further isolates a player who already isn’t a natural attacker and one who can’t afford to venture too far forward without worrying about cover.
In a 4-3-3, a defensive midfielder would easily make up for any adventurous runs but in a 4-2-3-1, if Wan-Bissaka gets caught up too high and his teammate who is playing on the wing isn’t anywhere near the flank to cover him then the team would be in real trouble.
Luke Shaw used to be an attacking full-back and even with all the support in the world on the left flank, he still struggles with getting forward occasionally and overlapping his teammates.
If the former Southampton man had to go through what Wan-Bissaka does in terms of lack of support then it’s likely fans would be attacking his attacking output even more.
Manchester United’s attacks are so lopsided (leaning to the left) that anyone playing on the right would struggle.
It’s partly why Antonio Valencia struggled so much, though it could also be argued that he was on the decline already and didn’t have Wan-Bissaka’s natural defensive talent to make up for it.
If Solskjaer wants to cover the 22 year old’s weaknesses and aid his strengths then he must give him the support he’s desperately crying out for.
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