Manchester United star Aaron Wan-Bissaka has quickly become yesterday’s news following Diogo Dalot’s rise under new manager Ralf Rangnick.
It hasn’t helped that the German boss reportedly told club chiefs that the Englishman was not good enough to play for United.
Putting those rumours to the side, Dalot has certainly made the most of the opportunities handed to him but he was largely given those chances in the first place due to Wan-Bissaka’s absence.
The former Crystal Palace man was ruled out for quite some time due to injury or illness and so the Portuguese was called up to fill in.
The Red Devils’ need for width in recent matches has been obvious, particularly in the 4-2-2-2 formation, so Dalot’s attacking talents naturally shined.
Even Rangnick stated publicly that the former Porto man was a better attacker than defender but later praised him for improving that part of his game.
How to help
Wan-Bissaka is a former winger so it seems baffling that he is either uncomfortable or incapable of attacking with conviction on the right-wing.
Although he’s somewhat limited in that part of football, there perhaps are things Rangnick could do tell help him.
Fans only needed to be reminded of Valencia’s sudden struggles at right-back to see the similarities between the two players.
The Ecuadorian initially played brilliantly as a full-back but later seemed to run out of steam, before eventually leaving the club.
Both Valencia and Wan-Bissaka can be described as one-dimensional, which alone isn’t a bad thing, but put them under the microscope and it looks like they’re failing.
The former Wigan man was a one-trick pony of sorts but not in a bad way.
He used his sensational pace and acceleration to beat his man then delivered pinpoint crosses time and time again. It’s what made him so successful.
Valencia and Wan-Bissaka
When Valencia was turned into a full-back, he didn’t have the support he had as a winger and often had to take on two deep, defensive players thanks to United’s lack of width. He struggled.
Wan-Bissaka is similar in that sense. United can help him by ensuring whoever plays ahead of him provides width and allows him to overlap with lots of support.
Naturally that player should be Jadon Sancho but he has his own struggles and that’s a story for another day.
Wan-Bissaka isn’t necessarily bad at attacking but rather he’s one-dimensional in how he does it.
Give him the right tools and he won’t look as bad and perhaps can rediscover his offensive ways.
Let Wan-Bissaka focus on what he’s good at and he won’t disappoint when United need him to deliver a crucial cross to the team’s forwards.
How to not use Wan-Bissaka
If you isolate him and expect him to hold down the right flank on his own like Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold then he will fail you.
Wan-Bissaka should improve when he returns as United now play in a 4-3-3 formation so he will have Scott McTominay protecting him.
Now the question Rangnick can rightfully ask himself is whether it’s worth tailoring everything around Wan-Bissaka.
This is an even more important question when considering Dalot’s form and whether it might be easier to teach him to defend than to teach Wan-Bissaka how to attack.
That will be Rangnick’s decision and it will be an interesting one to see, especially given it can potentially influence the next manager’s decisions too.