Aaron Wan-Bissaka was conspicuously absent from Manchester United’s squad against Rayo Vallecano today.
The right back was not even amongst the substitutes, with Ethan Laird starting at Old Trafford.
The former Crystal Palace player was not in the travelling squad to face Atletico Madrid yesterday either.
Wan-Bissaka failed to impress during United’s preseason tour and his exclusion from this weekend’s matches – “for whatever reason” as the MUTV commentary team said – does not offer him much promise of gametime under Erik ten Hag.
While the reason for his absence remains unclear, with a number of player reporting illnesses over the weekend, the lack of an explanation regarding Wan-Bissaka in the build up to the game would suggest that his days are numbered.
According to Sky Sports News, Manchester United were ‘open to offers’ for the full back as far back as May, when Ten Hag was confirmed as the next manager.
However, the Englishman’s presence with the touring squad suggested that the Dutchman was willing to give him a chance up close.
He played in just 98 minutes across the four games in Bangkok and Australia and missing warm-ups number five and six altogether would leave him severely under-prepared for the new season.
It seems far more likely, therefore, that the new boss has no intention of using him.
Wan-Bissaka is a phenomenal one-v-one defender, however the Dutchman prefers to have his team defend firstly as a co-ordinated pressing unit and secondly by retaining the ball.
The £50m man has often been guilty of lapses in concentration, and often struggles when defending in situations that don’t involve a single player running at him.
But more damning has been his lack of improvement in on the ball.
Lacking in passing ability and awkward when controlling the ball, it has become a common strategy for opposition teams to not even bother to press him.