Home » Tyrell Malacia seems to be Erik ten Hag’s preferred left-back choice

Tyrell Malacia seems to be Erik ten Hag’s preferred left-back choice

Shaw might have to be content with a place on the bench after a impressive display by the young Dutch full-back

by Ayantan Chowdhury

Manchester United ran out comfortable 3-1 winners over Crystal Palace in their third pre-season game. And Erik ten Hag will be pleased with the way the team performed in the first sixty minutes. And the Dutchman’s team selection seems to indicate he is closing in on his first eleven.

The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Tyrell Malacia as the starting left-back and he produced a lung-busting performance and even contributed for the first goal scored by Anthony Martial.

It seems Luke Shaw might have to be content with a place on the bench come the start of the Premier League season.

Malacia was always there to support the attack and ran back to cover his centre-backs on every occasion. Ten Hag prefers his full-backs to occupy an inverted position, something both Diogo Dalot and Malacia did on every available opportunity.

And Ten Hag has settled on using skipper Harry Maguire as the right centre-back with Lisandro Martinez likely to be his partner.

Both Maguire and Victor Lindelof looked comfortable in their respective roles with Maguire especially impressive despite boos from the MCG crowd.

Bruno needs competition

It was great to see the attacking triumvirate of Martial, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho all get on the scoresheet. Their combination play at times was sublime with the second goal being a particular highlight.

The former Ajax boss will have been pleased for the most part with the trio but there are still concerns over Bruno Fernandes. He was good without being anywhere close to as dangerous as fans have come to expect from him.

He was United’s talisman for one-and-a-half seasons under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but his form has wavered since Cristiano Ronaldo came to the club.

Ten Hag witnessed the Portuguese’s ugly side against the same opposition in the final game of last season and Bruno was guilty of wasting possession on more than one occasion. He almost gifted the Eagles a goal in the opening period.

His set-piece delivery was also below-par and Christian Eriksen’s arrival might be the catalyst that reignites the Portugal international’s form.

Apart from a slight wobble in the second-half, United looked in cruise control for the contest. But Ten Hag will be aware of the tougher challenges that lie in wait in the coming days.

He will be eager to utilise the remaining three games and give the first team as many minutes as possible with a raft of substitutions not likely to be enforced as the league season draws closer.

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