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Erik ten Hag impressed with Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s determination

Defender will be given chance in pre-season to rescue United career

by Ayantan Chowdhury

New Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is known for his well-defined footballing philosophy, and he is known to only favour players who can buy into his style of play completely. Characteristics include being comfortable on the ball, aggressive in their approach and having the ability to play on the front foot. If a player does not live up to the coach’s high standards, he is usually shown the door.

That has been in full focus during United’s transfer dealings with Ten Hag looking at players he has previously worked with (Frenkie de Jong, Lisandro Martinez) or he knows during his time in Holland (Tyrell Malacia, Christian Eriksen).

Signed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in 2019-20 after the club had apparently scouted over 800 players during their search, Aaron Wan-Bissaka‘s strengths do not seem to align with the way Ten Hag wants his teams to play.

The £50 million man is adept at 1v1 defending and solid in the tackle. His defensive contributions are second to none. In high-stakes encounters against stronger opposition, Solskjaer could trust the full-back to put in a good defensive shift. Matches against Manchester City where he nullified Raheem Sterling and against PSG’s Kylian Mbappe are great examples of Wan-Bissaka showing his class.

But going forward, it is a totally different picture. The first signing of the Solskjaer era is not really comfortable with the ball at his feet, is not the best crosser and his aerial ability at the back post has also come under the scanner. That allowed Diogo Dalot to take his place under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

Multiple reports had linked the former Crystal Palace defender to a return to London with the Eagles interested in a loan deal but the Red Devils favored a straight sale. But his wage demands might put off Palace and his high price tag means the club will definitely take a hit if he is shown the door.

The Dutchman at the helm had wanted to bring Jurrien Timber to the club, someone who is equally comfortable playing on the right flank. But that deal has since stalled. Even Inter Milan man Denzel Dumfries‘ name has been mentioned as a possible target, increasing the heat on AWB.

AWB impressing Ten Hag

Pre-season started at the Old Trafford club on June 27 with players not part of international duty returning early. And since their arrival, the 24-year-old has apparently impressed the new coach with his willingness to work hard and determination to stay and fight for his place.

Recently, a video showing his extra training on the sideline of pre-season went viral. The video shows the right-back attempting passing drills and attacking combinations.

While some fans joked about his lack of attacking potential, many highlighted his will to save his United career and seemed to be impressed.

According to talkSPORT, the Dutchman is willing to offer a chance to the England U-21 international and will take a decision after giving him a proper chance during the Red Devils’ pre-season fixtures.

The former Ajax manager will be aware of the benefits of keeping a solid back-up option in the former Crystal Palace Player of the Year. However, if there has to be any chance of him prolonging his Old Trafford career, the right-back simply has to improve his attacking output.

In his three seasons with the club, he has produced only 10 goal contributions in 89 Premier League appearances with none of them coming in United’s disastrous campaign last time around. The ball is in Wan-Bissaka’s court and he has it all to do if Ten Hag is to keep him on at the club.

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